T Nation

Too Few Reps?

Guys,A few months ago I was stucked at 45Kg with my favorite exercise (shoulder press machine) but I wasn’t still able to complete 3 sets of 10 reps…so I moved to 50Kg.
With this weight I can only do a few sets with very low reps,let’s say 6,7…
I haven’t improved in the last few months so I think I need to readjust something…

I suspect it’s too few reps.
Should I go back to 45Kgs where I can do more reps ?

When I get stuck there are a few things I try:

  1. do your heavier sets, followed by more reps of lighter ones.
  2. Eat more food
  3. Take a week off from that exercise

One or more of those usually get the jobs done.

If you haven’t already, take a week off then refocus towards your goal.

A) Change the frequency of how often you do it.
B) Why are you stuck on 3 sets? you can do more.
C) More likely then not when your stuck at high rep level like 10 you have just trained your mind to stop at 10. Try doing more reps on your first set one week, more on the last set the next week.
d) Change the time periods between sets.
E)(I like this one whenever I want a new goal of either reps or weight) Do 10 sets of 50 kg 3 reps. Every week up the reps by 1, sooner or later it will feel light enough that you swear you can do 10

I train “to failure” so I never have a specific number of reps as a goal.
But when I’m able to do 3 sets of 10 I add more weight.
This worked so far…now it looks I need to change something because in the last three months I haven’t seen gains…

NO gains = new routine.

Try doing some strength work in the 5 rep range for a month. Use dumb bells.

Are you doing accessory work? Lateral raises? Horizontal (rear delt) flys? Do you do incline presses at all? The day before your shoulder day (or right before you do your shoulder press)?

[quote]Horazio wrote:
I train “to failure” so I never have a specific number of reps as a goal.
But when I’m able to do 3 sets of 10 I add more weight.
This worked so far…now it looks I need to change something because in the last three months I haven’t seen gains…[/quote]

You need to focus less on one periodization. You will get stuck that way. Try each week to add a rep, ad 1 lb same reps do same reps in less time etc etc. All are forms of progress. Even adding an extra set that would be more total volume.

Id say try staying away from failure for a bit aside from the last set add a few more sets maybe an 8-10 x 3 set up for a change.

Phill

[quote]Horazio wrote:
I train “to failure” so I never have a specific number of reps as a goal.
But when I’m able to do 3 sets of 10 I add more weight.
This worked so far…now it looks I need to change something because in the last three months I haven’t seen gains…[/quote]

Contradiction… if you do something until you can do 3 sets of 10 then that is y our specific number of reps as a goal. Just because you go to failure, doesn’t mean that in the back of your mind you are telling yourself 10 is the final goal. Which also tells yourself that the wieght is getting harder every rep after 5.

3 sets of 10 are excellent for beginners. Once you start to stall you can increase the number of sets or lower the reps and raise the weight. Otherwise you can just lift until you reach 3 sets of 10 but that can take years depending on your body and drive. The body grows in cycles so just because you went up for 3 months maybe now its time the muscles required are not going to grow exactly the same.

Ok. Thanks guys for the detailed answers. I’ll do more reps,fasters but with less weight.