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'Punish' Yourself with Volume If You Don't Hit Intended Reps?


Say, if you wanted to do 4 sets of 6 reps with 200kg on whatever exercise.

You complete 3 sets with 6 reps, but on your 4th set you only got 5 reps.

Would it be a good idea now to ‘punish’ yourself with extra sets at that same weight (200kg), so your body is forced to adapt and get used to handling that weight for reps? Those extra sets don’t have to be taken anywhere near to failure, so you could get in some solid additional volume without taxing yourself too much.

So, for example, since you failed to get 4 sets of 6 reps with 200kg, you now have to do an additional 5 sets of 3 reps with 200kg?

Then, if you don’t fail to hit your intended reps next week, you don’t have to do those extra ‘punishment’ sets.

Would that be a good idea?


You miss one rep, so you change your workout to go for another 15 reps? Seems like that would train a macho attitude, sacrificing the quality of one workout at the expense of others, rather than thinking about the big picture.

A better approach would be to take the workout as-is, but after the set, try to understand why you missed that last rep in the first place. Technique issue? Didn’t rest enough between sets? Specific muscle fatigue? Lack of conditioning? Distracted because it’s your anniversary and you wanted to get home from the gym for sexytime?

Occasionally doing a heavy set of 5 instead of a heavy set of 6 will cause basically no difference in the long-term. And I’d guess that deliberately turning a training session into punishment instead of using it as time to build strength isn’t something most successful lifters do.


Agreed. Additionally, your body doesn’t know you “missed a rep”, it’s not like your body will go, “HEY! You missed that rep. Therefor you’ll get no results unless you do something extra.” Additionally, your body isn’t a machine, as much as people like to think so. I feel like saying, “I will do ‘x’ number of sets and reps with ‘x’ weight” is a good frame work to start your session, but it’s kind of like saying, “I want to get to ‘x’ pounds on the scale.” Kind of arbitrary and you shouldn’t be so attached to it. Every session is different, and a smart lifter will work AROUND a problem, not barrel through it.

If you don’t get the additional rep you intended, as @Chris_Colucci, ask WHY you didn’t get it. Some days are different than others, you might always nail a certain weight on a certain exercise, one day you go into the gym and feel strong as hell, other days warm up weights seem heavy.

If I’m aiming to do incline dumbbell presses with 100 pound dumbbells and am aiming for 8 reps, and achieve 7, you can bet your ass I’m not about to add more work or “punish” myself with more volume. I’ll say to myself, “alright, I got 7 reps, that’s still pretty good. Maybe I warmed up too much…maybe I wasn’t focused…or MAYBE I’m just not strong enough yet for that 8th rep. Let’s see if I get it next time.”

Also, if you missed a rep, obviously your body is telling you something is different than what you expected, so missing a rep then adding MORE work doesn’t seem like the best idea.

I would also ask, who cares if you miss a rep? I mean unless you’re getting ready for a weight lifting contest where you have to perform those reps with that weight, does it really matter that much?

No I don’t think so. That one rep makes no difference, and your body won’t “get used to handling weight for reps” with that method.


So, if you miss a rep - what do you do?

Try and do exactly the same thing next week?

So, you got 6/6/6/5 with 200kg on week 1, you just try and go for 6/6/6/6 with 200kg on week 2? And if you get 6/6/6/5 with 200kg on week 2, just keep plugging away week after week until you get 6/6/6/6? And, then, try to get 7/6/6/6…etc… until you’re doing like 10/10/10/10 with 200kg?


You could progress as planned (its 1 rep)
You could progress weight at a slower increment
You could repeat the session
You could lower the weight and get more reps in
You could increase the weight as planned at lower reps
You could periodize (work on speed for a session, intensity on another)
And lots more lots nore, it really is up to you to find out how you respond.


Nope… your body isnt a machine, 1 missed rep in a single session means ZERO in the scheme of things.


So I will preface this by saying that I am psychotic

I employ the punishment for weakness approach to training, but not in the fashion described. Typically, if I’m in a scenario where I cannot hit my goal weight, that’s it for the day; I’m not going to lift that weight anymore. What I typically end up doing is dropping the weight and hitting the most ridiculous drop set/rest pause workout I can fathom.

This is something I did on a day where I pulled a muscle in my back on a set of deadlifts and couldn’t complete the workout

For people that don’t want to watch a 10 minute squat video, it broke down to this (only resting long enough to change plates between sets)


I operate under the premise that, if I constantly submit my body to abuse everytime it fails to perform, it will eventually learn to avoid failure in order to avoid the punishment my mind will inflict on it.

I am fully aware that what I wrote is crazy.


Dude, you and me both. That post=everything.


Competitive strongmen truly are a special breed.


Is it catching on yet?


I don’t know why, but for some reason I imagined you start many conversations this way. :slight_smile:

So… umm… I have nothing constructive to add. Carry on as ya’ll were.


All my workouts are entirely autoregulated so this is not a problem. There’s no reason to punish yourself for non-customizable programming.


I do this too. If I know my strength isn’t there then I’m going to brutalise myself with volume instead.


Could always try slapping yourself in the cock


Well, that is essentially what I’m suggesting.

You failed to get the 4th set of 6 with 200kg, so instead you’re going to do 5 additional sets of 3 reps with 200kg. None of those 5 sets of 3 will be close to failure - so surely you’d just be getting in some additional volume to push more hypertrophy that will lead to you getting stronger and NOT failing to get that 6th rep of the 4th set next week?


nooooope, you’re suggesting more work at the same weight. I’m suggesting back the intensity way off and do some much higher rep shiznitz


You missed a planned rep once-Big deal.Forget it and proceed to your accessory work

You constantly miss planned reps-Something’s terribly wrong with your programming


This. If i missed a rep, I assume I grinded the crap out of it for about 10 seconds before finally gassing out. Zero chance I can pick that weight up again that session, let alone for 15 more reps.


that’s exactly what I was thinking. How are you going to do 15 more reps on a weight you’ve just failed on?


I don’t know, but I did it yesterday. Weighted chin ups. I failed to get the 6th rep, so rested 3 mins, got a fairly easy 3 reps, then just repeated it for 4 more sets.

Regarding the ‘planned reps’ - I’m barely getting the 6th rep of the 4th set at the moment, and I’m using Paul Carter’s very simple progression scheme whereby you just grind the shit out of that same weight until you can hit 4 sets of 10 with it. Only then do you ‘earn’ the right to use a heavier weight and go back to the lower reps.

If everything goes to plan, I’ll be doing;



Until 10/10/10/10.

Is that a good progression scheme? (If not, can you suggest an alternative?)