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More Reps or Weight to Progress?

Once I reach 5 sets of 5 perfect reps for for a given exercise, how should I progress beyond it? Should I up the weight immediately or should I go for more reps before increasing weight?

For example, last Thurday this was my dumbell bench press workout:

40’s x 5
40’s x 5
40’s x 5
40’s x 4 (failure)
40’s x 2 (failure)

And this is from today:

40’s x 5
40’s x 5
40’s x 5
40’s x 5
40’s x 3 (failure)

I should be able to hit a perfect 5 x 5 on my next attempt. But then what should I do next? Should I increase to 45’s and then shoot for 5 x 5 again? Or should I stick with 40’s until I can do a certain amount of sets and reps?

The 5x5 routine is very popular around here, but I can’t seem to find what I’m looking for by searching posts and articles. I see plenty of example workouts, but nothing regarding how to progress to the next level.

Thanks in advance.

Go to 45’s.

Obviously you can’t continue this rep scheme forever always increasing weight. Mix in different weight/rep schemes either in intervals or mix and match different schemes with one another. But, if you are doing 5x5 right now–up tyhe weight.

In a perfect world, if I can do 5x5 with 40’s then what should I realistically be able to do with 45’s? Again, this is in a perfect world. Is there some kind of formula or should I just max out each set and let the reps fall where they may?

Just do the reps you can and look for improvement workout to workout. Again, that would be a tad unrealistic, so just do your best each time.

No formula that I know of. But you can increase reps and volume by doing pauses the first few times you lift after raising the weight. This can often times lead you to quicker gains than just doing reps through failure.

So you’re saying on the first few reps I should hold the weight at the top of the movement and pause a few seconds before bringing it back down?

Just curious, how does this lead to better gains? Is it because my muscles get to relax a bit in between reps?

What I like to do is up the weight on the last set, then the next-to-last set, etc. For your workout:

40x5
40x5
40x5
40x5
45x?

Once you can do 40x5x4 and then 45x5, try:

40x5
40x5
40x5
45x5 (you got this last time)
45x?

And keep doing this until you get 45x5x5, then start over. I like doing this because a) you are basically guaranteed to get at least 20 quality reps per workout, and b) you should only hit failure on your last set, if ever.

I’ve had good luck with this system. Let me know if you like it.

[quote]Spad wrote:
So you’re saying on the first few reps I should hold the weight at the top of the movement and pause a few seconds before bringing it back down?

Just curious, how does this lead to better gains? Is it because my muscles get to relax a bit in between reps?[/quote]

NO

by pauses what I meant is

let’s say you can get only 45x3 on your third set. Now pause for 15 seconds or so(maybe 30) then rep out one or two more. It’s a high level technique that allows you to move more weight with a slight rest between reps. You should rack the weight while you rest.

Then on the 4th set
let’s say you can only do 2. Maybe you can do one or two more again with a pause/rest between.

Again, this is a high intensity program. Don’t overuse.

[quote]W.F.Call78 wrote:
What I like to do is up the weight on the last set, then the next-to-last set, etc. For your workout:

40x5
40x5
40x5
40x5
45x?

Once you can do 40x5x4 and then 45x5, try:

40x5
40x5
40x5
45x5 (you got this last time)
45x?

And keep doing this until you get 45x5x5, then start over. I like doing this because a) you are basically guaranteed to get at least 20 quality reps per workout, and b) you should only hit failure on your last set, if ever.

I’ve had good luck with this system. Let me know if you like it.[/quote]

This makes a lot of sense. I think I’ll give it a shot and see what happens. Thanks for the idea!

[quote]sasquatch wrote:
Spad wrote:
So you’re saying on the first few reps I should hold the weight at the top of the movement and pause a few seconds before bringing it back down?

Just curious, how does this lead to better gains? Is it because my muscles get to relax a bit in between reps?

NO

by pauses what I meant is

let’s say you can get only 45x3 on your third set. Now pause for 15 seconds or so(maybe 30) then rep out one or two more. It’s a high level technique that allows you to move more weight with a slight rest between reps. You should rack the weight while you rest.

Then on the 4th set
let’s say you can only do 2. Maybe you can do one or two more again with a pause/rest between.

Again, this is a high intensity program. Don’t overuse. [/quote]

I see what you mean now. So basically, it’s like doing a few extra sets of 1 or 2 with 15-30 seconds rest in between.