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One Rep Max - More For the Ego Than the Physique

Joe Pietaro

Joe Pietaro

Joe Pietaro Contributer
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"How much ya bench?" Yeah, we all have asked it and had it asked of us a thousand and one times. And it sure feels good when one can reply with not only a generous pound amount but also a new personal record. Perhaps you have finally broken the 300-pound threshold or are nearing it after being stalled at 275 for months on end. Boom. One clean rep without any help from the guy spitting on you. Congratulations.

Big friggin' deal.

How far will that get you the next time you look at your reflection in the mirror? Did it make you any bigger? More shredded? Added definition to your pectoral muscles? Bumped you up to another X on your shirt size? Nah, nothing of the sort. Perhaps your hat size, but that's about it. If you're training for yourself or a panel of judges, they will not notice any difference, either. But you will know and have bragging rights about that new benchmark... pun intended.

If you already did your sets on a certain m movement and then want to try to see if you can outdo yourself, feel free. But don't replace legitimate reps and sets with a one rep max; your form will frequently suffer doing them and even when your buddy says, "It's all you," his two-finger guidance is helping to get that bar up. Many people feel that squeezing out four reps is a 'set,' but they are sadly mistaken. If you're a powerlifter, then we're singing a different tune. That is a completely different sport, mindset, and strategy. We're referring to bodybuilding, even in its simplest form of weight training to stay in shape. When following a training regimen for that, you should focus on form, reps, short rest periods, and volume; the last thing is the amount of weight you should use.

Don't break into that too much, however. If you're an average-sized person with average strength, using a 2-pound dumbbell is not going to have much effect on you. But using a 60-pound set may be a far reach and result in you using the abhorrent form for a handful of reps. What you need to do is find a happy medium that will allow you to perform a set of 12-to-15 reps using perfect form and have the ability to pick up that weight again for another 60 seconds or less later.

Time in between sets is another important factor in all this and one that should not be scoffed at. When you are using too much weight, then your follow-up set will suffer greatly. For example, you were able to muster up the balls to get a full set of 12 good reps out. But a minute later, you're still trying to catch your breath, let alone have the ability to do a legitimate set. So you grab the weights and get eight reps, with the last two using bad form. How do you think that third and final set will go?

Next time, grab a weight that you may even feel is light for you during that first set, slow down each rep, and squeeze it at the top and bottom. Then grab it again a minute or less later and repeat. It's going to feel a bit heavier, but don't give in and cheat. Fish the set properly and then when you hit that third one, it will feel like you're lifting double the weight. We guarantee you that will immediately see the results in the mirror while doing these sets, getting a great pump and showing amazing vascularity.

And you might even have to go shirt shopping a few months later.
 
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