So you can't finish your set... what next?

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Harpoon
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So you can't finish your set... what next?

Post by Harpoon » Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:31 pm

This has always been a problem of mine since I plateau easily, especially on isolation or more technical exercises, which makes advancing on strict numbered training plans (do this many sets for this many reps) frustrating

options:
1. Don't finish the set.... if you're supposed to do 5 sets of 10 reps and your reps are dropping off at the 4th set, just do as many as you can with the weight you started with, and hopefully next time you'll be able to push it nearer to 10.

2. Switch and finish the set with the next lower weight option, in which case..
a) Do you give up, continue the next set with the lower weight you had to drop down to?
b) Or do you do the same thing again, dropping the weight to finish the set when you can't do a proper rep anymore

3. Cut proper technique a bit so accessory muscles can assist squeezing out the last few reps if necessary?

4. What about waiting time? In many programs (ie Neanderthal) they are like, do this right away, or rest 60 seconds, etc... I find if I ignore this, and rest (progressively longer) as the exercise goes on, its easier for me to maintain the weightload and not have to lower the weight or cut reps.

(of course this is concerning a program where you start your exercise heavy and not progressively increase the weight)


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stuward
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Re: So you can't finish your set... what next?

Post by stuward » Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:46 pm

Normally if you're doing 5x10 straight across, you pick a weight where you come close to your goal. Once you reach the goal, you increase the weight the next time. Stop the set once you reach technical failure, that is, your form breaks down or the bar slows significantly on the last rep. Of course a lot depends on your training style. Some like to go intense on their sets, employing negative rps, etc to milk the eccentric portions of the reps. That might be good for people trying to increase size over strength, so it depends on your goals.

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Re: So you can't finish your set... what next?

Post by Jungledoc » Sun Apr 03, 2011 1:20 am

It should be a rare event for general strength training. It usually means that you are lifting too heavy, or that you are ill or poorly recovered from a previous workout. You have to go to failure occasionally in order to learn what it feels like to be close to failure, and to know when you have reps left, but most of the time you should finish an early set with 2 or 3 reps left, and the last set with at least 1 rep left in the tank. In other words, you feel like you could still do another rep. Failed reps do more harm than good. Lifting the weight makes you stronger. Failing to lift the weight does very little for you. Struggling with the rep means that you have a greater chance of injury, and will be less able to recover.

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Proper Knob
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Re: So you can't finish your set... what next?

Post by Proper Knob » Sun Apr 03, 2011 6:02 am

If 5 x10 is your goal, realistically you want to be using 50-60% of your 1RM.

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Sampson7
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Re: So you can't finish your set... what next?

Post by Sampson7 » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:43 am

Since you plateau easily, you could try 5/3/1. Which has a spread sheet with it that calculates what your sets and reps should be. The nice thing about it is you can stay on it for a long time and keep progressing. The linear programs you can't stay on as long because you plateau sooner.


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Stephen Johnson
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Re: So you can't finish your set... what next?

Post by Stephen Johnson » Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:58 am

Harpoon wrote:This has always been a problem of mine since I plateau easily, especially on isolation or more technical exercises
You're doing 5x10 sets/reps with isolation exercises? Why?

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Sampson7
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Re: So you can't finish your set... what next?

Post by Sampson7 » Sun Apr 03, 2011 11:24 am

Stephen Johnson wrote:
Harpoon wrote:This has always been a problem of mine since I plateau easily, especially on isolation or more technical exercises
You're doing 5x10 sets/reps with isolation exercises? Why?
Isolation exercises should be something like 3x8.

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Sampson7
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Re: So you can't finish your set... what next?

Post by Sampson7 » Sun Apr 03, 2011 11:45 am

What are your goals? So we can give you a good program.

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Re: So you can't finish your set... what next?

Post by Harpoon » Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:56 pm

Proper Knob wrote:If 5 x10 is your goal, realistically you want to be using 50-60% of your 1RM.
ok but it doesn't always work out perfectly of course... so again, if you cant finish a set, do you keep the same weight and just cut reps for the next sets, or do you lower the weight to finish the set and try again with the old weight on the next set(s), or do you just settle for a lower weight for the rest of your exercise?

also, doing 5x10 60 lb seated rows one week and then doing 5x10 70lb or even 65lb the next is a pretty big jump, you cant really fine tune increments on most equipment... obviously I wont be able to do a complete 5x10 this time, but I still want to get stronger, so it brings me back to my original question....
Sampson 7 wrote: Isolation exercises should be something like 3x8.
Yes thats exactly what my program has, I meant isolation exercises are especially frustrating...
for example, this lower trap raise, with a 2 second squeeze at the top, real mofo to maintain proper technique with...
Image
Image
I can just barely pull off the first set of 3x8 with 4kg dumbells, but I have to lower the weight in the next sets, and when I return to the exercise as part of a superset, I am down to 1kg dumbells and hurting.

----

I am doing the neanderthal no more program (currently on This Split... definitely not as fun as doing a 5/3/1 of the Big Three Lifts and eating like a wild boar in between but I'm trying to work on my posture and want to ride this one out...

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Sampson7
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Re: So you can't finish your set... what next?

Post by Sampson7 » Sun Apr 03, 2011 1:43 pm

Yes, the side lateral raises and versions of that exercise are very difficult to add weight to, and require you to use low weights unless you have ultra strong shoulders. I alternate sides with these exercises, and do one side at a time alternating sides throughout the exercise (left, right, left ...) You can use a little more weight that way.

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Re: So you can't finish your set... what next?

Post by Velcropop » Sun Apr 03, 2011 4:11 pm

I find that plateauing on isolation or accessory lifts isn't actually that bad of a thing. Sometimes I get so used to just doing an isolation exercise for volume on specific muscle(s) that even though it was a plateau point of sorts before I suddenly find myself jumping up in weight. I think patience is the key in this respect--provided you are making progress on the big lifts it shouldn't really matter.

As for answering your question: I think it's better to check your ego and drop the weight. I am wholly more satisfied with 3x12 at a lower weight with good form than I am when I get ahead of myself and my log starts to say 1x12/1x10/1x8. Particularly with shoulder exercises too, since I don't like the idea of injuring myself for the sake of a bigger number. But, as everyone has said, what you do should depend on your goals.

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Proper Knob
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Re: So you can't finish your set... what next?

Post by Proper Knob » Sun Apr 03, 2011 4:31 pm

If your aiming for 5 x 10, the first three sets should be fine. It's the last few reps on the final two sets that should be the toughest. If you drop a few short just carry on with the same weight. If you're missing reps on the second or third set then i would say you're going too heavy and should drop the weight.

As for the exercise you posted, drop the weight. I do something similar with 2-3kg dumbells, depending on what exercises i've done before hand. Remember that exercise is targeting small muscles and is all about proper technique, aim for quality of movement as opposed to how much weight you can move.

Velcropop
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Re: So you can't finish your set... what next?

Post by Velcropop » Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:25 pm

I like that:
Proper Knob wrote:aim for quality of movement
Quality > Quantity.

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Re: So you can't finish your set... what next?

Post by Harpoon » Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:04 am

roger


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