T Nation

Trouble Keeping Even Reps

I’ve begun doing very strict reps for more bodybuilding focus (previously did more strength 3-5 reps) but one thing I notice is I have difficulty keeping even reps across sets particularly with smaller lifts (curls, etc). For example, I pick a weight and go for something like 8 reps. After this first set I usually barely feel a burn and I’m like ‘darn, I picked way to light a weight, I could easily keep going’. But then I do my second set and I’m like ‘holy shit, I’m burning like crazy by the end’ and struggle a bit on the last rep. Then on the third rep I start to fail to make all 8 reps and get less and less each time.

So I’m unclear what to do in this case. Was my weight too high cause the first set was a breeze or too low because I couldn’t finish out the last sets? Does this indicate this exercise could use a different rep scheme or that I should be changing weights across sets (ie drop sets)? Should my goal be to pick a weight that makes me burn/struggle at the end of the first set?


i dont even know where to begin…

but for the sake of lolz can you give us an example of what this looks like?


It is going to be hard to assess the issue without knowing some specifics (how long have you been lifting, maxes,rest periods between sets, training splits, the weights you are training with etc.) but as a rule of thumb your results sound reasonable let’s say you are maxing 200 lbs on the bench press and you are using 140 lbs for a set of 8 (70%) resting 2 minutes and going again it stands to reason that each progressive set would be more difficult, and as a beginner those performance drops may be even more noticeable due to the lack of fully integrated connections between your mind/nervous system and your untrained muscles.
If you put in more specifics I’m sure someone can answer your question.

Your muscle’s endurance level is much lower than its actual ability at doing things?

It’s called fatigue. At some point your muscles will get tired and you won’t be able to do the same weight for the same reps anymore.

For example, say 300 lbs is your max bench. So one day you go in and bench 300 lbs for 1 rep. Then you rest for a minute and try again. Rest another minute, do it again, etc.

How long can you keep that up? Forever? Obviously not, and the reason is fatigue.