I don’t think these are instincts (innate tendencies) but rather something that was learned along the way.[/quote]
Well, I’ve only been doing this for a little less than two months, so there’s very little experience and education behind my opinions. From what I’m reading here, most of what I’ve been told and taught previously is bullshit anyway. So while I’ve read a lot of people’s ideas about how to train, which one I use really is just a matter of instinct – I’m going by what seems like “the right thing” based on how I feel during and after a workout.
What I probably should have said is “Every set should consist of the full target number of reps”, which is more accurately what I’m thinking. If you want to do two sets of fifteen, then your second set needs to be fifteen reps, and if you can’t get fifteen with the weight you used on the first set, you should use less weight on the later reps.
Well, I’m expecting a certain amount of anticipation in the workout. Dropping two 45s on the bar is an easy way to get the weight you want up front, but it’s difficult to modify later. So if you know you’re going to start with 45s and then need to drop it by 5 pounds twice during the workout, then it’s smarter to load your bar with 25, 10, 5, and a pair of 2.5s on each side. At each point where you need to drop the weight, all you need to do is strip off one of the 2.5s on each side, which is a lot faster than reloading the bar with 42.5 pounds on each side at the first change.
A good spotter/partner is useful to get things done faster, too; he can see you struggling with the rep before the one that doesn’t work, and be ready to strip those plates without more than a five or ten second pause.
I am in NO position to say whether my instincts are “proper” or not. Fact is, I am a newbie, so my instincts might be (and probably are) completely wrong. Like I said, there are a lot of different ways to train, and you can’t follow all of them at once… you just have to identify and eliminate the ones that don’t work, then choose your style from what’s left.
At this point in my training, my approach works, but as has been said here before… ANYTHING is more hypertrophic than sitting on your ass watching television.