How Hard Should Your “Hard Sets” Be?
To get the most out of strength training, you must ensure that your hard (heavy) sets are hard enough and produce high levels of tension in your muscles.
This is easy to do. Here’s how it works in the program in my new book Muscle for Life:
- End all hard sets of bodyweight exercises 1 rep shy of muscle failure, which is the point where you fail to complete a rep. That is, continue hard sets of bodyweight exercises until you feel you have 0 good reps left in the tank.
- End all hard sets of machine, dumbbell, and barbell exercises 2 to 3 reps shy of muscle failure (1 to 2 good reps left).
And how do you gauge this accurately and know how close you are to muscle failure?
It’s mostly a matter of trial and error, but once you get underway, you’ll quickly become attuned to how your form is holding up.
An easy way to develop this intuition is, as you’re approaching the end of a hard set, to ask yourself, “If I absolutely had to, how many more reps could I get with good form?”
Your instinctive answer will often be accurate, especially as you become more experienced.
Why not go right up to the point of muscle failure?
Mostly because it’s unnecessary for gaining muscle and strength and increases the risk of injury. As our muscles become fatigued, we can lose the ability to feel what we’re doing with our body and think we’re maintaining good form when we’re not.
Surprisingly, you’ve just learned one of the greatest “secrets” of successful strength training: knowing how hard to train in your workouts.
Many people don’t work hard enough and wonder why nothing changes, and many others work too hard and wonder why they’re always stuck in a rut and hurting.
You now know how to thread this needle effectively.
Want connect-the-dots simple beginner, intermediate, or advanced strength training programs that put this technique into effective use?
Click the link below to pre-order Muscle for Life now:
Go for it!
P.S. If you do pre-order the book, make sure to keep your email receipt because I’ll be giving away thousands of dollars of glorious goodies, and there will be several ways to enter to win, including buying books, spreading the word, following me on social media, and more.
More details to come soon!