After reading a recent study about strength training and whether you need to lift heavy weights to build muscle, I got to thinking about my clients and how they strength train. 

The study showed some evidence that rather than worrying about lifting real heavy weights, we should consider simply lifting the weight until we reach failure or close to failure. In other words, if one can lift a weight 8 times until reaching failure, we can expect similar results compared with choosing a lighter weight and lifting it about 15 times until failure.  What we are really trying to do is stress the muscles to a point of fatigue or failure.

As we move into August, one of our focuses is to work at each exercise until we reach this muscle fatigue instead of simply counting to 10 reps and stopping no matter how we feel. I think there is some benefit to this focused drill, as we will be more aware of how hard we are working on each exercise.  For practical purposes, we will still pick weights we can lift for between 8 and 15 reps, otherwise each move will take too long to get to failure. 

If I post a workout routine that calls for an effort of 9 out of 10 or 9/10, that means that you will stop just short of failure for that exercise. So perhaps you could do 1-2 additional reps before failing or messing up your form.  A 10 effort level means you can do NO more reps with good form. We will usually save the 10 effort level for the final round of each circuit. 

I look forward to using this method as a teaching tool to help you get the most out of your workouts at Thrive.

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