What's a 10?

  • What exactly is a 10 or the high point when you are doing your workouts .  Should I be at the weight in which I can barely do the last rep of 6, or should I not quite be able to do the last rep?   Is it maxing out on the last 12 of the initial exercise?   I understand we are to push ourselves but I want to ensure that I have following the program properly.  I appreciate any advice

  • I'd like that answered, too! :)

    It's all about progress, not perfection.

  • you know the sequence of doing reps: 12, 10, 8, 6, 12, and 12 of a diff. exercise but same muscle?

    The '10' is during that last last set of 12, the diff. exericse, same muscle.  As your doing each set, they should get progressively harder.  So by the time you reach that last 12 reps, you should be reaching failure near the end.  If you really can do all 12 reps of that last exercise, then it's too easy.  Reach for failure on that last set.

    When you think you've hit failure, go for 1 more!  Keep good form.  Cheating on form doesn't count.

    There are some exercises I've been stuck at the same weight forever and ever.  So I upped the weight even though it meant breaking the 12, 10, 8, 6, 12, 12.  Ended up more like 12, 10, 6, 1, 4!  But it helped me break through a plateau and those numbers went back up to the 12, 10, 8, 6, 12, 12.

  • Wow,

    Thanks Super-Opti-Girl that just changed my perspective, now I'll start aiming for failure.  I'd reached a stale-mate on the weights for a couple of exercises but I thought I had to do the entire 12 set with a supposition that I could do no more...your explanation makes much more sense.

    ...with your super-opti powers it's no wonder you can see things more clearly than I can :)

  • hahahaha, 'super-opti powers' I never thought of it that way "seeing things more clearly" LOL

  • Well said Opti. I agree. Push those limits every workout. That is the only way for progress. My bud Orrin wrote this awhile back - it's a keeper.

    • 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!


  • Thanks Legs and Opti.

    I did lower body today with a new mindset, looking to fail on the last set and boy did I make an insightful discovery.

    I'd been maxing my leg press at 190lb kidding myself this was my 9, I put it up to 210lb today and still managed 12 reps!

    I've been doing Rise on Toes with 210lb, today I tried to fail with 260lb and still managed a set of 12!

    I'm going to redesign my whole weight schedule now, clearly I've been kidding myself as to what a 9 was for me, I'm glad I've found out now while I still have time to get the benefit of getting it right.

    Thanks team, I can't wait to see what I can do with upper body!


    You are stronger than you know! Way to push your limit.

    Bring on the results!!

  • WOW, wonderful advice!

  • YES!!  ok, you've reminded me it's probably time to up my leg ext and leg curls! yes it burns, but I can still lift!

  • I work out with free weights and by myself at o'dark thirty in the morning at my gym.....I don't dare do 10's!!!  I try to get to 9-9.5 but I don't feel very comfortable without a spotter to truly go for 10's, just my two cents.


  • I find I can go way heavier on free weights but feel a bit funny asking randoms at the gym to spot me especially on chest and shoulder presses :(  But I work with what I can do and maybe hit a 9 so sometimes will do a few extra reps on the last 12 until muscle fail

  • Legs; your 'bud Orrin' pegged it! That is incredible...the lightbulb going off type of thing. I will never look at a 10 the same again!

  • DD: You've been given great advice. Reaching those 10's is very important but keeping your nutrition clean is 90% of your success. All the best.

    fit4life "The dream must be bigger than the pain"

  • I am new to this thread but I love the discussion here

    Legs; Thanks for the post by Orin , I kind of already knew that but it's good to see it put so well. I really need to push harder. For me it's a mind thing, I always talk myself into quitting way to early.