If there is one thing that people seem to forget, it’s that they should be maximising every working set when they train.
What do I mean by that?
I will tell you what it doesn’t mean and that’s being a broken sweaty mess, however… if you end up a broken and sweaty mess as a result of truly maximising your working sets int he gym then so be it.
Confused? It’s ok, I will explain.
When I talk about getting the most out of your gym time I often speak about how much good quality work you will be doing in each session (for most people this is around 1hour of solid work). A good way to establish this is to set yourself a rep target, 50 reps for example. You will pick a weight that allows you to do anywhere from 6-12 reps, then you will try and hit your rep target in as few sets as possible. It’s usually best to stop 1/2 reps short of failure or when your form starts to break of slow down noticeably.
Using the example above lets say you do the following in week 1:
100kg x 14
100kg x 12
100kg x 8
100kg x 8
100kg x 6
100kg x 6
That gives you 54 reps in 6 sets no you can either stick with 6 sets as your standard and increase the weight while keeping the rep target the same or you can aim to hit 50 reps in say 5 sets or perhaps even 4, by doing this you will force yourself to increase your work capacity and lift more over a shorter period of time. Once you can do it in say 4 or 5 sets then feel free to add weight and try again.
Personally I like to limit my total sets to 4/5 when using the 6-12 rep range as this gives a nice large scope or rep targets (25-100 potentially if you;re so inclined). When it comes to workouts I will usually use these guidelines:
*Main Lift – 25 Rep Target – 5 sets tops
Assistance Lifts (1-3 lifts) 50 reps – 5 sets tops
Isolation Lift (1 lift or 2 in a super set) 75 reps 5 sets tops
Core – 2×5
*Deadlifts, Clean & Press, Cleans, Snatch I usually limits to 10 heavy reps or 15 moderate ones.
This style of method helps keep things simple and progressive, remember that the key to progression is in fact progression. If you’re not sure how to put together a workout then there are some example exercise below that you can pick from. All you need to do is match up the main lift to the rep/set target, when it comes to picking loads you can either go on feel or start with 70% of your 1RM if you know it. Alternatively you can use this 1RM calculation to establish a guideline number:
Weight x Reps x 0.0333 + Weight = Estimated 1RM
Estimated 1RM x 0.7 = Estimated 70%
Main Lift Choices:
Squat, Front Squat, Deadlift, Snatch Grip Deadlift, Press, Bench Press
Assistance Lift Choices:
More Squats, just lighter. Leg Press, Lunge, Straight Leg Deadlift, Dumbbell Press, Inline Press, Dips, Pull Ups, Bent Over Row, Renegade Row.
Isolation Lift Choices:
Leg Extension, Hamstring Curls, Calf Raises, Flies, Reverse Flies, Face Pulls, Bicep Curls, Skull Crushers.
Core Lift Choices:
Ab Roll Out, Hanging Leg Raise – Toes to bar wth strict form.
Above are very limited examples, you can find hundreds of variations of exercise on the internet so there is no need for me to list them down, besides, it will do you some good to go digging for extra exercise.
The above is nothing revolutionary but it works, now go and maximise not only your working sets but also your time in the gym.