The Rep Effect: Why I Stop at 8 Reps December 01, 17
One thing that I have found that differentiates my method from others is the number of reps that I do. I use the magic number 8. It wasn’t always this way and it took years of training people until I decided that majority of my exercises wouldn’t go below or above 8 reps.
Most methodologies and classes like Barre and Pilates often do reps up to 30 times. Why? Because its burns like crazy (you know you have been in those classes cringing as you hit rep 25). High reps at a high speed fatigues the muscles until they’re screaming at you to stop. But remember—when your muscles are screaming, they are begging you to stop and telling you that they can’t be pushed anymore and you’re overdoing it. Shortly after this happens and you finally listen, our brain releases endorphins which masks the pain your muscles are feeling. We tend to think this is good because the endorphin spike makes us feel better. But it’s time to evolve that thinking – pain does not always mean gain! You need to listen to your body.
But take away the pain factor – you know what else happens when you do that many reps? Your form goes right out the window! You are so focused on getting through the burning and the anguish, your form slips and you potentially begin to do exercises that can damage your body. And I can tell you, out of everything I teach and preach – it’s all about the form. If you start doing movements without focusing on the form – you are wasting your time and you will not see the results you are looking for!
So, that is where my magic number comes into play. By some universal phenomena, about 95% of my clients break form at the same number of reps. Every client, every workout, every exercise -- right around 8 reps, they start breaking form. I actually attribute it to the attention span of the brain: 8 reps take about 12-15 seconds and your mind is ready for the next challenge. Also, the intensity weighs-in to the rep factor too - if a move is extra difficult, I will drop it down to 6 reps because I know my clients will break form faster.
In other words – be wary of exercises and programs pushing you to do massive amounts of reps. Focus on doing deliberate key movements, slow and focused on form. In my streaming and in my studio, I’m constantly reminding my clients to “pull your stomach in, keep your knees back, keep the weight to the inside of your feet.” Once you start breaking that – it’s time to stop the reps!
I’m all about making each workout work for you. The body is so complex with over 600 muscles. How do we get the most out of our work out, and condition this extremely complex system to where you can get amazing results as fast as you possibly can? My program probably has about a 1,000 exercises that I cycle in an out of constantly – and we find the time to hit many of those in each workout because I don’t bog you down with massive reps and repetitive motion. My goal is to use as many of those exercises as possible in a given session, so that I can constantly work every part of the body and pin-point specific areas that need work.
I know this is counterintuitive – but I promise you that you will see a difference if you focus on bringing your reps down and focusing on your form. If you’re new to my streaming, it might feel like we are jumping from movement to movement – and you are CORRECT. I’m not focused on knocking out 30 leg lifts – I’m focused on small, deliberate movements with perfect form that will reach those hard-to-reach muscles and lean out your lower body.
Take the rep challenge with me – don’t go over 8 and pay attention to your form. It will all pay off!
Post by Stephen PasterinoHi, I'm P, founder of P.volve. I'm passionate about fitness, wellness, and all of the healthy lifestyle choices in between. Get more out of your workouts by staying up to date with our Blog, where I share all of my fitness secrets.
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