If you are here to build your body and grow some badass muscles, learning how to train with intensity is non-negotiable.
In training, the main driver of transformation is progressive overload.
The most important variable for this principle is load selection. It means that in every training session, you need to choose a weight that will help you build the body you dream of.
But do you need to train to failure in every session to get the most out of your training?
Let’s have a look at what the research says…
Going completely to failure shows no clear benefit than staying 3 reps shy of failure (3 Reps in Reserve = RIR). But what we can also see is that training less hard than 3 RIR will lead to suboptimal results.
That means we need to find the sweet spot between going always to failure (which will cause a lot of fatigue and no results) and staying somewhere around 3 RIR.
So, what’s then the best approach?
1. Start your new training block with 3 RIR
2. Track your weight and reps
3. Add weight and/or reps each week and try to match the weight and/or reps from last week
Let’s take the Back Squats as an example here:
Week 1: 8 x 60kg
Week 2: 8 x 65kg (increased weight)
Week 3: 9x 65kg (increased reps)
Week 4: 10x 70kg (increased reps and weight)
As soon as you hit failure or are accumulating fatigue over the weeks, you exhausted your training program and it’s time to take a deload.
Now what to do if you are new to training?
Here are some guidelines depending on your training level:
Beginner (first two years)
Intermediate (first 2-7 years)
Advanced (7+ years)
Extra Tip For Beginners
If you are unsure how many reps you can do with a certain weight, film yourself during an exercise where you can safely fail, don’t count your reps, and see how much work you are able to do.
After the set, watch your video and count the reps.
Have you done more than 3-5 reps as written in the program?
👉🏼 The selected load was too light.
Have you done less than 3-5 reps as written in the program?
👉🏼 The selected load was too heavy.
Now you can assess and find your sweet spot.
Want to learn even more about load selection? Check out our “Load Selection 101″ video HERE.
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I'm a Health & Fitness Coach and Personal Trainer based in Berlin who loves to dance to Queen B tunes in her kitchen and eat salted caramel ice cream (or chocolate).
Back in 2016, I went from a full-time party girl to a sports enthusiast.
I was so sick of hangovers, feeling much older than I was, and not being able to wear my favorite clothes, that I took an U-turn.
I felt so in love with training & nutrition that in 2017, I quit my deadly boring office job.
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