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burnout after 4-6 reps

i seem to burn out after 4-6 reps depending on the exercise. i routinly change things up, however i usually stick to 8 reps and under. should i increase reps or stick with what i’m doing?

What are you training for?

i am training for strength mostly, just personal, not competing or anything.

This is an interesting point of discussion.

Ian King believes that the more advanced a lifter becomes the fewer reps they need in per set in order to continue making gains. I find this quite easy to believe since advanced lifters are better able to recruit motor units rapidly. This means as an advanced lifter you are using a higher percentage of the muscle each time you lift. This allows you to lift more but it also means you’re unable to lift near your max for as many reps.

Now the time under tension people will tell you that it’s important that you maintain the right amount of time under the weight. This means that you should be doing 6-10 reps at the right tempo every set or you’re not going to go anywhere. I have a little trouble with this since people make great gains well outside that tesnion zone. It’s a very individual thing and you really can’t compare beginner and advanced lifters in terms of % of 1RM used and Time Under Tension the motor unit recruitment ability is totally different.

If you’re a fairly advanced lifter I would say stick with under 8 reps. However if you find there’s a substantial difference between the weight you can lift for 8 reps and the weight you can lift for 6 reps stick with the heavier weight, afterall you’re goal is increased strength. You might also include some ballistic work as a recovery workout.

For example if you work chest once a week you might do your regular chest workout on Monday. Then thursday you would do some sets of ballistic pushups (clap optional). Perhaps five sets of 2 pushups with one minutes rest in between (warmup a little first) You’ll find this increases neural recruitment as well as speeding recovery for the next workout.

Hope that all helped.


My advice… Read sturat’s reply…

Also you asked what rep range you should stick to…
Personally I think that ‘sticking’ to any rep range is not a good idea. Im a big believer in periodization (conjugated, linear, whichever- but some form of periodization is a must)If you are training for strength however most of your training should be done with lower reps and heavier weights.

But there is a place for higher reps, in any program…

Leave a few core exerices at the 4-6 reps range, but then switch many of the other exercises into the 8-12 rep range. Then see what happens. If it’s good, then milk it for a while. If it doesn’t help, stick with lower reps.

Just experiment with yourself and see what happens. I find that a lot of people (myself included) enjoy lower reps because the weight is heavier and the end point of a set is more clear. Training in higher rep ranges requires lighter weights, more lactic acid and generally more soreness and difficulty during the session. Due to these and many other reasons, people gravitate toward lower reps.