To be successful, strength training must be a year round occurrence. Every rep, every set, every exercise and every training session is a maximal effort! It is then imperative that you understand how to adjust the weight you are lifting to ensure maximal gains.
REP RANGES - The rep range for every set is listed on the workout card in the column labeled "% Range". Typically, we will work in a rep range of 8 to 12, although it may vary. This means that you should reach positive failure somewhere between 8 and 12 reps.
POSITIVE FAILURE - This refers to the point at which the lifter can no longer perform a perfect repetition and the spotter must assist in completing the rep.
PERCENTAGES - When a single number (ex. 72.5) is written in the "% Range" column, multiply that exercise's 1RM (or the appropriate conversion) by the percentage and divide by one hundred to get the weight for that set.
1RM x %
TARGET REPS - When no rep range or percentage is given in the "% Range" column, a number will be printed in the "Reps" column. Perform that number of repetitions for that set.
PERFECT REPETITION - All reps should be slow and controlled. Nothing we do with weights is ballistic, with the exception of the Olympic Lifts (Power Clean and Snatch). Make sure tension remains in the muscle throughout the entire range of motion. To ensure this it should take 1-2 seconds to raise the weight and 3-4 seconds to lower the weight. Do not bounce jerk or "cheat" a rep to complete it.
FORCED REPS - For the exercises where forced reps are required there will be the figures M+3 in the "% Rep" column. This simply means that after you reach positive failure, your spotter assists you through 3 addition reps. Forced reps are done on the last set of an exercise and only when prescribed. Forced Reps should not be recorded in the "Rep" column.
WEIGHT ADJUSTMENT -
FOR REP RANGES - There are two necessary elements here. First is understanding the rep range, second is recording the reps performed on your own for every set. An example is if a rep range is 8-12, the point at which you reach positive failure will determine your weight for next week. You must record this number on your sheet so you have a reference for that workout the following week. Your weight adjustments only take place on the same workout, i.e.; your results on day 1 lift will set your weights for the next week's day 1 lift only. DO NOT RECORD FORCE REPS, ONLY RECORD THE REPS YOU PERFORM ON YOUR OWN.
- Follow the table listed below as a rule to adjust your weights.
FOR PERCENTAGES - Use the percentage of the 1RM to calculate the weight for each set.
FOR TARGET REPS - If you reach the target rep goal while performing the exercise with proper form through the fullest range of motion possible increase the weight the next smallest increment possible.
Important Points for Optimal Results
2. Follow the exercise order on the card. The exercises are prescribed in a specific order to achieve a specific result. Performing exercises in an indiscriminate manner will lead to non-reproducible results.
3. Do not perform exercises that are not on the workout card. Do not perform 'favorite' exercises if they are not listed on the workout. No exercise is more important than any other. The most difficult and challenging exercises are those that will result in the greatest gains.
4. Know the rep range for every exercise, when given, as well as the number of reps performed in the previous workout. If 9 reps were completed the previous week, this week's goal for that exercise is 10. Know what the previous effort was and attempt to surpass it.
5. Know that certain outside factors will affect strength levels. Injury, eating habits, stress level, sleeping habits, time of year (pre-season, in-season, off-season) as well as other environmental factors.
6. Train with an all-out effort. Sub-maximal efforts lead to sub-maximal results. Make every workout count.