Stop Counting Reps
I bet you count your reps.
And all my programs that I design for clients or sell do.
Why Counting Reps Makes Sense
Counting reps can
- help you measure progress (ability to do more reps today than a few weeks ago means progress, right?),
- keeps you focused (if you are supposed to do 8 reps, and you are on #7, you are more likely to go to 8),
- ensure you follow a proven program, one written by someone who presumably knows more than you about how most bodies work and what will get results.
But counting reps can also deter progress because of several mental games you subconsciously play.
- When you are supposed to get 8 reps, you mentally start tiring at rep #6 even if you body could go to 10 reps; your mind says “I’m supposed to be getting tired now.” And your mind is very powerful.
- Similarly, if you are supposed to get 8 reps, and you get #8, you might not try for #9.
- If you are targeting 10 reps, and you only get 8, you start to get discouraged. Then the rest of your workout stinks because your mind is saying things like “why aren’t I stronger?” or “when am I going to finally see some major progress” yadda yadda.
- On the other hand, counting reps can have an opposite mental effect: you push so hard to get to that target rep that your form becomes horrible. At that point, you are in danger of injury because you’ve stopped listening to your body.
So Stop Counting Reps
I don’t actually mean stop counting reps forever! I mean just for this coming week. Do your regular routine, with your regular poundage, but don’t count the reps. Push yourself hard but don’t focus on counting. Focus on
- how the muscles involved are feeling and how they work together;
- proper form and tempo;
- lifting to failure but not past failure; see my previous article for more on that;
- your breathing.
No matter whether your goals are muscle gain, fat loss, or even strength gain, I bet if you take a week and following this advice – stop counting reps – you’ll come back the following week feeling better and making more progress.
If you aren’t following a set routine, but have already gotten experience lifting, you should check out the brand new version of The 6x6x6 Routine.