Get to failure easily, but don't get sore afterwards

  • dextersima

    Posts: 26

    Jul 02, 2016 2:28 AM GMT
    One problem I had during workout is that I get to failure really easily. Like when I do bench press, after 6 reps, I'm out of it. I feel like when I do the 6th, I don't really have much trouble, but at the 7th, there's just no way that I could do it. And I'm not lifting really heavy weight. And a lot of the time I don't get sore after workout. Is there something wrong with what I do? Is it a body type thing, or I'm just not training hard enough? I just feel like I'm not improving a lot strength wise.
  • leanandclean

    Posts: 235

    Jul 02, 2016 3:55 PM GMT
    You don't need to get sore so don't worry about that. If you can afford it perhaps consider finding a good personal trainer.
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    Jul 02, 2016 7:13 PM GMT
    Have you tried reducing the weight - and see if you can go to struggle/failure around 9 or 10? That's usually what I do. When that becomes "easy", raise the weight back up. Hope that helps.
  • trvlmscl

    Posts: 135

    Jul 02, 2016 11:40 PM GMT
    I often fail at rep 5/6. It really depends on your workout routine. After my warmup weight (typically 50-75%) I chose a weight I think I can push for 3x 8 reps. After my first set I often adjust the weight +/- 5-10%.

    But if you're shooting for more than 6 reps, you need to lower the weight.
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    Jul 03, 2016 5:03 AM GMT
    Some good guidelines for sets/reps, depending on the goal of your weight routine:

    Build mass/strength:
    4-6 sets, max reps of 6 in any set (heavy weights/low reps) - good goal is to do 6 reps on first set, then lowering reps as you add weight each set - heaviest set should be 1-2 reps, then you can have a final set using first-set weight (an you'll probably only get 4 or 5 reps).

    Build endurance:
    4-6 sets, reps of 6-12 (moderate weights, medium reps) - similar lifting pattern on the sets as above, just weight adjusted so you can always do at least 6 reps, but most likely starting your first set at 10-12 reps and working from there.

    Toning/full range of motion/beginning after a long break from the weight room (or just starting in the weight room for the first time):
    4-6 sets, reps of 15 plus (very low weights, very high reps) - allows good, full range of motion with free weights, you can truly focus on form, great way to strengthen connective tissue (ligaments, tendons, etc.) before you move to heavier lifting.

    Some rules of thumb on tissues in the body:
    Each connective tissue is about twice as strong as the one before it, with muscle being the weakest and bone being the strongest. Something to think about in the weight room - you don't want to increase muscle strength/size too quickly (before the connective tissues have strengthened to take on the bigger workloads). If you increase muscle strength/size too quickly, you can damage/injure the ligaments and tendons by stressing them beyond their current capacity/strength. If you're returning to the weight room after a 3-4 month break, or if you're just starting for the first time, it is a good idea to take 2-4 weeks of low weight/very high reps to accomplish 3 things - gain correct form, develop full range of motion with each specific lift, and strengthen the connective tissue.

    On sets vs. reps, the body needs at least 3 sets of a weight lift to truly gain any benefit. Best is 4-6 sets. From the 7th set on, the body does not get much bang for the buck, so the 7th and more are basically wasted. Reps, as noted above, are decreased as weight is increased. For strength/bulk gains, its best to stay at 6 or fewer reps per set.

    If you want to feel sore from a work out, try doing some max weight days: a warm up set, then 2-4 sets of 1 rep as you try to lift the maximum weight you can.

    Hope this helps.
  • Noeton

    Posts: 203

    Jul 03, 2016 6:09 AM GMT
    From what you write, you may well be doing it right, in fact. Your reps are already within the effective range for increasing hypertrophy (muscle size). Why not keep at it and see if you can progress soon to a heavier weight while keeping roughly the same number of reps? You might also give drop sets a try. After you max out (achieve failure), drop a little weight and continue to do reps until maxing out again. This is most conveniently done on machines. You might also try a longer rest period between sets of heavy weights for the same exercise (around 2 minutes). If you keep at it and your still have the problem and you are not making progress, then I would suggest only using machines (which will take away most worries about injury) while you practice focusing on the mind-muscle connection that will help you intuitively feel just how much weight you can confidently lift in order to max out around 5 to 7 reps or so. Be careful: if you go too heavy on cables or free weights as a beginner, you are asking for injuries.

  • Jul 03, 2016 10:39 AM GMT
    All great advise. To the OP: Is this only with bench press? I struggle to hit my sets with bench press as well. All other muscle groups seems fine and have strength to complete my 12-10-8 stacks except the incline/flat/decline bench.
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    Jul 03, 2016 4:04 PM GMT
    Try going to the gym at a different time of the day . Eat some protein and fat 30 mins. before working out. (Salmon, nuts,peanut butter, beef jerky) Cut sugar out of your diet ( fast burn) and add good fats ( slow burn). Some guys after a hard days work go right to the gym and wonder why they feel