** You’re Increasing Weights Wrong.**

** When you first start doing strength training you probably did something that resembled 3 sets of 10 repetitions for a given weight, right?**

** Nothing wrong with that.**

** And every week or so, you added some more resistance and hammered out 3 sets of 10.**

** You’re making gains.**

** Everything thing’s coming up Milhouse.**

** You might even start thinking ahead. Perhaps envisioning adding another 5-10lbs. of resistance every week until you are the strongest person who ever lived.**

**If you started out lifting 100 lbs. that calculation would have you lifting between 360 lbs. and 620 lbs. a mere year later.**

** Suffice to say, it doesn’t work that way.**

** At some point you won’t be able to just add another 5 lbs. of weight and still get those 10 reps.**

** What do you do then?**

** Some possible solutions could be:**

**- Struggle, grunt, and body English your way into finishing the reps?**

**- Stick with the weight you can do 3 sets of 10 with for eternity?**

**- Decide you’ve hit your genetic potential for strength?**

** What if instead of thinking about a single rep number, you begin thinking in terms of a rep range?**

** Let’s use biceps curls for an example because, who doesn’t want a pair of impressive arms, right?**

** You begin with 3 sets of 10 repetitions at 25 lbs.**

Actually, let’s back up just a second and explain a couple terms just for clarity’s sake.

A set is a made up of a number of repetitions. Once you hit that number you take some time to rest and get ready for the next set.

A repetition is doing the exercise exactly one time.

And of course, the weight (or resistance) is measured in lbs., unless you’re somewhere that uses kg.

Lastly, volume measures the total effort in lbs.

3 sets of 10 reps at 25 lbs. just means you lifted 25 lbs. ten times in a row, then rested, did it again, rested some more, then did it a third time.

You can express this through a shorthand that looks like this: 3 x 10 x 25, which if you push the math buttons gives you 750. That 750 lbs. is the total volume for that exercise.

** Still with me? Cool.**

** You’re killing it at the gym. Your eating right and getting plenty of sleep. Over the next few weeks you’re upping the weights.**

**3 x 10 x 25 = 750**

**3 x 10 x 30 = 900**

**3 x 10 x 35 = 1050**

** You’ve definitely gotten stronger. Then plan is working until… you move up to 40 lbs. and you can’t lift it for 10 reps.**

** Now what?**

** Now it’s time to use a rep range instead of one number.**

** Here’s how that works. Rather than shooting for 10 reps per set you target 8-10 reps.**

** You can’t curl the 40s for 10, but you can do 8. Great!**

**3 x 8 x 40 = 960.**

** “But, Jason,” you ask, “that’s less volume than I was doing before. Am I weaker? How can this work?”**

** Excellent question. You’re right, 960 < 1050. Good catch.**

** The difference is you’re going to stick with the same resistance for a bit, while you work on increasing the reps.**

** Shoot for 3 sets of 8-10 reps. The first time you try 40s you “only” get 3x8, that’s fine. Next time just try to improve by just one rep. If you can do more, cool, but if you only add one more, that’s still progress.**

** Week 1 looks like:**

** 3 x 8 x 40**

** Week 2 is just one rep better:**

** 9 x 40, 8 x 40, 8 x 40**

** It’s a small jump, just remember progress is progress. Adding one quality repetition is going to be more effective in the long run than using momentum to swing the dumbbell so you can claim you did ten reps.**

** In time you’ll improve to:**

** 9, 9, 8**

** 9, 9, 9**

** 10, 9, 9**

** 10, 10, 9**

** 10, 10, 10.**

** Now it might not be quite this smooth every time. That’s okay. Keep at it, keep giving it your full focus and be patient. You’ll add those reps.**

** Once you’ve gone from 3 x 8 x 40 to 3 x 10 x 40, your total volume will have increased from 960 lbs. to 1200 lbs. That’s pretty significant!**

** It’s time to increase the weight and reduce the reps again.**

**3 x 8 x 45 = 1080 lbs.**

** You are using a heavier weight with slightly lower volume. You’re acclimating your body to higher strength demands without overtaxing it by also upping the volume.**

** When you start out you can pretty much increase your strength in a straight line. You just adjust one variable, the resistance. The reps and sets remain the same.**

** As you progress you’ll get to a point where it makes sense to adjust other variables to keep getting stronger. That’s all using a rep range is. It’s much simpler in practice than it is in theory.**

** Increase the weight, lower the reps.**

** Stick with the weight, gradually increase the reps.**

** When you hit the ceiling of your rep range, you repeat the process.**

**That’s really all there is to it.**

** Now it’s time for you to take action and use this strategy in your workouts to keep progressing!**

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