To be successful, strength training must become a year-round occurrence. EVERY training session and EVERY set is important. It is therefore crucial that you understand how to adjust the weight you are lifting to ensure maximum strength gains. The rep range for every set is listed on the workout card. In some cases you will see a rep range of 8 to 10. This means that you should reach positive failure somewhere between 8 and 10. 

POSITIVE FAILURE – refers to the point in an exercise at which you can no longer perform a perfect repetition and your spotter has to assist you. It is important that you push yourself to get as many reps as possible. 

PERFECT REPETITION – all reps should be slow and controlled. None of these exercises are designed to be ballistic movements. A good rule of thumb is to not allow momentum when raising the weight, and a 3-second count while lowering it.

WEIGHT ADJUSTMENT – The first key is understanding the rep range, and the second is recording of reps for every set. For example, if a rep range is 8 to 10, 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 the following week. Your weight adjustments only take place on the same workout. (Day 1 results set your weights for Day 1 of next week) Follow this table as a rule to adjust your weights. (This illustrates an 8 to 12 rep range, adjust it as the range adjusts).

   8, 9, 10, or 11 REPS – SAME WEIGHT NEXT WORKOUT
   12 or 13 REPS – INCREASE 5 POUNDS

The only time you will ever stop before you reach positive failure is if a set is prescribed for a certain amount of reps (i.e., 2-Way Shoulder 2x12). So if possible go beyond the rep range. If you get further than 2 reps over the range, use your judgment on how much you increase for the next week.

The primary goal is to be able to finish the last set with the heaviest weight that you can possibly use to perform the prescribed number of reps with perfect technique. Depending on the skill level of the exercise, you may have to take a different path to get there. Exercises such as 2-WAY SHOULDER, LUNGES, STEP UPS, BACK EXTENSION, REAR DELT, and ROTATOR CUFF are not very skilled exercises where you may need warm up sets to get to your top weight. On these particular exercises you should choose 1 weight that you will use for all the sets, and when you can complete all the sets with that weight, use your judgment on how much to increase for next week. Other exercises that are more skilled such as PUSH PRESS, FRONT SQUAT, and INCLINE require a different plan of attack. Again, the primary goal is to use the heaviest weight possible on the last set, but how you get there will change. On these exercises, it is recommended that you use the first couple of sets to build up to the final set. This will allow for a more specific style of warm-up and will also allow for heavier weights to be lifted on the final set. Remember that the OLYMPIC LIFTS differ from the other exercises in that they are momentum movements. Make sure that you are able to perform each rep quickly before you begin to progress with your weights.

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