• Kevin Mullins

Stop Thinking Reps

Good afternoon guys,

Today's post is a short, but sweet post that I think everyone should read. It is about counting repetitions, or more specifically, not counting them.

As humans we have always been enamored by nice, round numbers that look good on paper and fly easily off the tounge. There are always lists that end at 10, movies with 10 in the title, and hell; we even counted to 10 when we played hide and seek as kids (by the way if anyone wants to make this game cool for adults I am so in!)

It is very natural for us to seek out round numbers. Some studies have shown they put us at ease, and even that some members of our society have a stress response when shown an odd number! It is crazy to think about how many little subconcious things affect us each and every day, right?

Well, let's shake things up a bit. I want you to stop counting repetitions during your workouts for a little while. FREE yourself from the binds of the 3 sets of 10 mentality that has been popular, and worn so thin over the years. Establish a crystal clear goal and train towards, and in doing so, don't count your reps. PUSH the muscle to it's relative failure. If you can get 11 reps on a set....why wouldn't you? We get so caught up in stopping at 8 or 10 or 12 that we forget why we are really there. We are chasing a sensation, a moment of failure, that forces our body to adapt and get better.

Before we continue remember this thought:


Sure, we want to feel good when we leave. Sure, we also want to succeed in accomplishing what we set out to do....A great workout. BUT, we need to approach each set and exercise with a desire to fail. If we don't give our body the stimulus for change...why will it? Those burn reps, or that final push on a 3rd rep. heavy is what we are chasing!!!

So, here are 3 steps to abolishing rep counting, at least for now, in order to push your workouts to the next level!

1. Establish a crystal clear goal.

Are you training to get strong? Are you looking to put on size? Are you trying to shred off some layers of fat?

Regardless of what your goal is there is a training zone for you. Now, that doesn't mean you can't mix and match elements of each "zone" into the same workout. Rather, it means you need to understand the "zone" you should be training in so that you choose the right weight!

STRENGTH- Choose a weight that causes you to fail in the 1-4 repetition range.

POWER- Choose a weight that causes you to fail in 3-6 repetition range

HYPERTROPHY - Choose a weight that causes you to fail at the 5-12 range

METABOLIC CONDITIONING- Choose a weight that causes you to fail in the 12-20 range

ENDURANCE- Choose a weight that causes you to fail in the OVER 25 repetition range

2. Establish your session in advance! No guess work.

What exercsies are you going to do? How many sets do you need to do to still get adequate volume on the workout? Obviously 2 sets of 20 reps isn't much workload if you want to smash your pecs, so what must be done?

The best bodies aren't by accident. The workouts and meals are planned to ensure that there isn't any mistake in the outcome. No one ever gets accidently muscular and shredded!

Plan your Exercises with purpose and make sure you know what you want to do that day!

Example: Posterior Chain and Core Day (GOAL IS STRENGTH AND SIZE)


Band Walks 2 sets of roughly 20 walks

Romanian Deadlifts 2 sets of 15 to 20 to warm up hamstrings

Deadbugs 2 sets of roughly 20 switches to engage core muscles

Contralateral Planks 2 sets of 20 to get core and hips firing


Deadlifts 6 sets of 10,5,3,1,1,10

Back Squats 4 Sets of 8-12

Dumbbell RDL 3 Sets of 12 to 15

Pull-ups 3 sets to failure (with weight or without)

Barbell Row 6 sets of 10,5,3,1,1,10

Cable Row 3 sets of 15-20

Dumbbell Shrugs 3 Sets of 10


V-Ups 2 Sets of 15-25 reps

Woodchops 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps

Planks 3 sets of 1 minute (TIGHT)

5 Minutes extreme incline walk

Foam Roll

3. Chase the Failure

This last point is a bit less scientific, but still valuable. Although I outlined a workout in step 2, that doesn't mean I have to follow it to the letter. I can push each set a repetition futher if I got in me. It is all about finding the greater you. Whether you need a better set of headphones, an extra scoop of pre-workout, or just a little pissed off attitude about not seeing the results you want faster....FIND IT.

Free yourself from the confines of stopping sets on a specific number. Push yourself beyond the limits you set on yourself by knowing what you are chasing, developing a specific plan, and being willing to work harder for it!

As always guys, stay healthy. Chase the better version of yourself.




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