There’s a lot of obsession with rep ranges when it comes to weightlifting and bodybuilding. At PT school we are always taught this idea of doing 12-15 reps for toning (or getting ripped), 8-10 reps for building mass and 5-7 reps for gaining strength. Something like this anyway and frankly I don’t really care because it is just bullshit I think. I happen to think that as long as you get the movement right you will see the results. Those that don’t get the movement right will probably only see their arms grow a bit. Those with good genes will see results quick even with bad form. In other words a lot of the books and programs you find online or in magazines are practically worthless.
Or are they? Perhaps we do need some sort of program we need to stick to in order to remain motivated and keep some sort of structure and discipline within our training. However, what if we are sticking to sets of 10 and we realised we feel strong enough to go up a weight? in this situation, I say we leave the programme and we work to our fullest potential. Keep going up on the weights, work through the entire dumbell rack until we reach breaking point. In this case, when training clients I will wright down on their record ‘AFAFA’ (As Far As Form Allows). This means we have capitalised on every available ounce of strength. Maybe we will not be able to lift the same amount the next week which is where we return back to the programme.
So work to your mood, not the rep range but just remember two things:
1. Stick as much as you can to good solid powerful lifts. Bench press and dumbell press for your chest, maybe throw in the smith machine press. On each you have a variety of angles so keep the presses going for at least 5 different exercises. A few flyes and pec decs you leave till the end. Like I said in my article and accompanying video on the big four we focus on shifting weight in the forward-backward, up-down direction. On your back training, it’s pull-ups and deadlifts, bent-over barbell rows (wide and narrow), single arm rows (dumbell) and leave lat-pulldowns and low pulleys until the end. Go for solid moves only.
2. Solid moves are those that guarantee solid form. Form is crucial. A lot of people compromise form for intensity just to see the higher numbers on those plates and dumbells. we should aim to build performance on top of effective and fluid movement. I’m not denying you can bicep curl huge amounts of weight but how much of that movement has been with momentum and against little resistance. Do you think this is going to bulk up your bicep?? Every move should be up-down, down-up, forward-backward. Reach your full potential like this then once you plateau you can start getting fancy with bands, chains and 1.5 reps etc.
The moral of this article is then that you work to your mood so that you exercise your full potential and don’t miss any opportunity to discover your awesomeness.