If you want maximum results, you need to put in maximum effort in every single rep.
The rep, is all important. Not the reps – the rep.
Every time I enter a gym, I see people doing whatever it takes to achieve their reps.
They adjust their form, speed things up, shorten the range of motion. For them. it’s about the reps and not the rep.
When I train people and ask for X number of repetitions, my clients do the same.
They do whatever it takes to perform the reps – and they forget about the rep. That doesn’t last long.
One of the first things I teach them is to ‘Respect the Rep’.
What does that mean? Let’s look at an example. If you are doing a set of 12 reps of bench press and the first five look perfect (the tempo remains the same, the bar touches the chest, the bar travels straight etc.), then the next four get a bit faster and the bar starts to bounce off the chest. Finally, the last three reps don’t even get all the way down and the bar is tracking wonky.
You didn’t Respect the Rep. You felt that getting to 12 reps was the important thing rather than doing a perfect rep, 12 times. That’s the wrong mindset.
Every rep should look identical. In the above example, your set comprised three different types of rep, fatiguing different muscle fibres. But you recorded it as 12 identical reps.
You didn’t respect the importance of the rep. You shouldn’t be performing sets of 12 reps.
You should always try to perform the most perfect rep you can, once – then repeat that perfect rep 12 times in a row. It’s about each individual, perfect rep, not just achieving a specific number of reps.
Legendary trainer Vince Gironda talked about finding the ‘Alpha Zone’. In this zone, you do nothing but perform perfect repetitions.
Yes, ideally you pick a weight that allows you to max out at your desired repetition range – but the reps are not the goal. The rep is the goal. Performing one perfect rep, followed by another perfect rep, followed by another. Focus on nothing else other the perfection int he execution of what you do with the weight – Respect the Rep.
If your tempo is 4110 then you perform repetitions at exactly that tempo, until you can no longer perform reps at that tempo.
If not, when you write down that you did 12 reps at a 4110 but only the first half were anything like that – you are cheating yourself and cheating your results.
In respecting the rep, you make your training consistent and accurate. You reduce the risk of injury and you work only the muscle fibres you are aiming to target.
The science of training is in the programming and technical execution. Much of the art is in Respecting the Rep.