Focus on Reps not Sets

Focus on Reps not Sets

Hey folks, as you know I often like to share different training methods and protocols as I’m a firm believer in challenging your body in new ways so that your body needs to adapt and grow. 

Breaking Patterns

So for many of you, I imagine a normal training day would generally follow this pattern:  

  • Decide what you’re training eg. Chest
  • Smash back a pre workout
  • Head into the gym (High as a kite!) 
  • Complete your first exercise eg. Bench Press – say 4 sets of 8 rep
  • Repeat this structure for the rest of your exercises

Now there’s nothing wrong with this. However, what I imagine normally happens with many of you, especially if like me you have minimal rest periods is this: 

  • Set 1 – 8 reps 
  • Set 2 – 7 reps 
  • Set 3 – 7 reps 
  • Set 4 – 6 reps 

Sound familiar?  

How to reclaim your reps

So originally you planned on doing 4 sets of 8 reps, which would have equalled 32 reps in total. Instead, due to muscle fatigue, you only completed 28. You have effectively robbed yourself of 4 reps! 

How do we get round this? As it kinda comes with the territory I hear you say. 

Well instead of planning to do 4 sets of 8 reps; plan to complete 32 reps with your 8 rep max.  

So for example your workout would instead look like this: 

  • Set 1 – 100kg x 8 reps 
  • Set 2 – 100kg x 7 reps 
  • Set 3 – 100kg x 7 reps 
  • Set 4 – 100kg x 6 reps 
  • Set 5 – 100kg x 4 reps = 32 reps woo hoo! 

I’d recommend following this until you manage to complete the 32 reps in 4 sets, then it’s time to up your weight. Don’t forget to keep a training diary, otherwise you’re never going to know how you’re progressing. 

This little change may not sound like a lot and will take up very little extra time, but over the year all those extra reps will soon add up – as will your gains.  

Assuming you train 4 days a week, with 5 exercises per workout. You also might have around 3-4 weeks off per year due to holidays, sickness, etc. the amount of extra reps you would perform would be close to 4000!  

Now I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t make some gains from performing an extra 4000 reps! 

So get repping!

Gordie is a current WNBF Pro Bodybuilder and in the past 8 he has won several National and International amateur titles, as well as a World title. At Professional level, he has picked up two top 3 places in the UK, a top 10 in Europe, and a top 10 in the World. He also works closely with the United Kingdom Drug Free Bodybuilding Association to promote the sport and run his own show every year, the Caledonian Classic. Aside from Bodybuilding, Gordie is a full-time Fire Fighter and part-time Personal Trainer/Online coach.

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