I have been thinking about the rep sequence of 12, 10, 8, 6, 12 , 12. A pyramid (decreasing reps increasing weight) ending in a super set. It is amazing and works! However, this sequence is not intrinsically magical. The key is the level of intensity an individual brings to every set and each and every rep. The key is finding that amazing place where perceived failure and maximum intensity collide and hitting a true 10.
It is not enough to go through the motions and simply complete the required repetitions of 12, 10, 8, 6, 12, 12. It is up to the individual to find their limit and then go beyond it – well beyond it. Hard breathing, sweat, burning muscles, your mind telling you your done, getting in all the required reps – none of these necessarily equals a 10. To me, if you want BFL results, hitting your 10s is crucial.
Two things about hitting 10s. First, I think for the most part when you think you have hit a 10 you haven’t. Not to be negative but the mind plays dirty tricks on us. The truth is we are all capable of so much more than we think we are. Most likely what we think is a 10 is closer to a 9. Still an excellent effort but we can lift more. Secondly, we don’t hit 10s with every exercise every time, but that is okay. I don’t always get 12 reps on the final set. Honestly, I purposely set myself up not to and try and prove myself wrong. If I get all 12 reps it is time to up the weight.
What I aim for on the final set is this: By the 4th rep my muscles should be burning. Thoughts I may have too much weight try and creep into my head. I ignore them and keep going. By the 7th or 8th rep every fibre of my being is telling me to stop. My mind tries to tell me its ok I have done enough, I am there. I press on. By the 10th rep my muscles are done for. This is where you want to be. This is where the mind, that deep inner strength we all posses, comes in to play. It is hard to explain but you don’t lift with your muscles. You lift with grit, determination, resolve and commitment; you lift because you want to shatter your self erected limitations; you lift because you know you are capable of more.
I know this is a fine line. It takes practice and focus to get to that place where a true 10 is possible. I have hit the 5th rep and been unable to lift more. Obviously I had too much weight. I have hit 12 and pushed out 3 or 4 more. Too little weight. But that is okay. Keep track of your workouts and the weights you use (I use the BFL Success Journal and highly recommend it) and you will find that place more and more often, hit your 10s and see amazing BFL results!
Very well said Orrin. Thank you for taking the time to write all that out. I "get that" now. I can't say I did in the beginning though. I think I used the first 3 sets as warm up, then thought if I lifted heavy enough on the last set and the superset I was doing well. Doing it the right way.
I didn't understand what it meant to lift with my mind. That moment or moments where the weight just stops, the leg is shaking and the switch in your head goes on and moves that weight. That is a powerful moment that first time. That happened this morning....I strive for that now.
I agree that we are much more capable than we give ourselves credit for. I learned that from people like yourself - friends that challenge me, egg me on and push me to limits I didnt think I had within me.
Your post will make somebody out there rethink their "10" tomorrow.
Again - great post!
Great post. Well said.
fit4life "The dream must be bigger than the pain"
Thanks, Orrin, for that. I will be thinking of your words when I start my C2 on Monday and I can't wait!
There's a girl out there warming up with your max.
Thanks for posting that. I have been bothered by that lately, thinking about it. Sometimes I would have to take a 2 second break inbetween reps just so I could finish the 12. I would think that meant a '10', but not so sure anymore. Anyway, I would still write it down. For instance if I had to take a couple breaks in a set, I would write "break 2x" in my journal. Then for next time my goal would be to only break 1x, then eventually no breaks. It has worked for me in the past.
I used to think my hammer curls at 15 lb were a '10'. So today I increased, the next increment was 20 lb. I only got 4 reps done. I even tried to rest for a couple seconds, still couldn't get them up without breaking form. So next time my goal is to hit 5 reps!
Hey, Orrin...thanks! Yes, it is mostly in the mind...I think it's Champster or DebMO (or maybe someone else, forgive me if I'm wrong here) has been saying lately to STAY UNCOMFORTABLE. I have been using that phrase to get me through lifting and HIIT. It's the same idea. We can't be reminded of it too much...we CAN push harder than we perceived we could.
Thank you thank you!!
If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten!
My FOURTH Challenge: May 23-Aug. 14, 2011. Began First BFL Challenge on June 21, 2010
Excellent post! I need that reminder to push farther and harder than my mind wants to go.
"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out." Robert Collier
I thought I hit a "10" in the beginning of the challenge and then realized that a true "10" was way beyond my pre-conceived notions. You are so right Orrin- your mind plays tricks on you. I sometimes reach very deep and get a ten but then again as long as we are all pushing hard-life is good.
Thank you for your post!
Thanks Orrin for you insight, as always! Sharing your knowledge is a gift we can all benefit from.
"The only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday!"
Orrin, I look forward to your insight posts! So true. I'll be thinking on this tomorrow while I lift. Thanks!
Great post Orrin...thanks for sharing! I did indeed hit a 10 yesterday with my upper body workout! However, I have (past and present) injuries that I have to watch out for and that is frustrating. In a way I feel I hit near to or actual 10's on some of these exercises, even though the weight is not very much, but in that I am working through and focusing on the injury, always staying true to form, trying not to re-injure, if that makes sense. I have gotten a lot stronger, and look forward to the day when my injuries are no longer an issue. For now, I push through what I can...
Thanks so much for the post - it is very easy to forget this once you are in your 3rd or 4th challenge. Last night I did just this I had some weights that were too heavy and couldn't finish my 12 reps, but I was good with that know I will get there but also knowing I am pushing myself as hard as I can and to be completely honest, I know C2 I wasn't pushing to my potiential. So thanks so much for the reminder!!
"If you mind can conceive, you can achieve it
Good point taylor. Myself included - I thought I "had this". Not so.
I am the type of person that needs these reminders obviously.
It feels good to hit 10's again. WOOP!
Orrin, every now and again a person would do something that effect many.
Your post is one of those things.
i honestly feel that when you wrote that post you were speaking to me, in a stern take no prisoners manner, telling me to man up, pull my finger out, and give it everything, and yes you know i thought i was but in reality i was nowhere close, and you were right.
I'd also like to thank you for this post.
I had read something that you wrote similar to this when I was going through the forum yesterday. It inspired me to push harder on my HIIT run and I reached a totally new level! For numerous reasons it made me understand the benefits of this program on a totally different level.
I had been stuck in almost two hours of bumper to bumper traffic on the way to the gym after work and ran my road rage off hitting my ten at 10mph on the treadmill and knowing that I could push even further and DOING it. Such a great feeling because as hard as I was pushing physically, my mind was almost zen like. I went home elated!
Today I try my hand with this attitude toward my LB workout. :)
I do have one question though:
How do you find that sweet spot between going beyond your perceived limit and being careful not to injure yourself? For instance, I was doing shoulder raises on Monday and used a heavier dumbell than normal. About 6 reps in I could see in the mirror that my form was really starting to falter (and I just couldn't get my arms back up) so I decided to finish the set at a slightly lower weight. I think there is a possibility that I am not reaching deep enough mentally but I also don't want to get hurt in the process.
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