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Warmups and Progressive Sets

Posted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:08 pm
by KenDowns
Being generally curious, I'm wondering how this works.

I saw an immediate increase on my bench when I switched from single-set-to-failure to 3x8 progressive.

Single set: my workout weight was 150 and I was stuck at 8 reps for a few weeks, except for one day when I hit 10. The last 3-4 were slower and slower, with your basic psych-up, grinding, and loss of form. This was one of the major reasons I realized it was time to change it up.

So on progressives, I went for 135-145-155. On Sunday I hit 8-8-6, resting about 4 minutes between sets. (I had done 3 progressive sets on the two earlier exercise days with lower weights and easy 8's).

The 135 is easy to understand, its much less weight than I'm used to. An easy 8 should be no problem.

But the 145 was an easy 8, no grinding it out, and I racked the bar with a few left in the tank. How can that be? This is just about 97% of the 150 one-set weight, but it suddenly seemed easy. Have the big brains studied this, and are there theories about warming up or progressive sets that explain this?

Even crazier was the 155, about 3% over the one-set weight that was so tough just a week earlier. The six came out fast and easy and then -- sudden failure. I was sure I had a couple in the tank so I decided to do one more and when the bar came down, bam! Couldn't budge it an inch. So I went to failure, unintentionally, but no grinding. That left me scratching my head, since in my single-set days I'd be grinding them out, slower and slower, and could feel well ahead of time where failure would come.

Then for the fun of it I put on 165, after about 7 minutes, and did 2 easy ones and hit that sudden failure again.

So I'm curious about how I could go from grinding out a painful 8 reps at 150 to doing an easy 8 at 145 followed by an easy 6 at 155.

Posted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:56 am
by Ironman
Mainly because you did something different. Not to mention more sets. Also failure training doesn't work so good for strength.