6 seems too easy or too hard

  • A little background: I tried the Challenge a year ago and had to dip out after about 8 weeks due to impossible schedule and life issues getting in the way (long story). Now I'm back at it and thankfully haven't encountered significant muscle atrophy over the past 10 months. Huzzah!

    But I have hit a funny plateau. It seems like for some muscle groups, especially my calves and biceps and triceps, I can't find a good weight for my set of 6 reps. If I'm doing a seated biceps curl I can currently do 8 reps at 20lbs. Then I go up to 22.5 and can only squeeze out 4 reps. If I do 6 reps at 20lbs I feel like I'm not really working hard. Has anyone else had this problem? Should I just do my 6 reps @ 20 and wait a week and see if I can do the 22.5 dumbbells? Should I do my 4 reps at 22.5 and call it good? What do you guys think?

  • My suggestion is to go slow and controlled.  If you still feel like you aren't working hard enough for 6 reps @ 20#s, do them anyway, and then pick up the 22.5#'s immediately and squeeze out as many as you can.  This will work out to be more like 8-10 reps total, but that's o.k., as long as you are really working that muscle.  You will eventually be able to drop the 20#'s and do them all with the 22.5#'s.  You aren't hitting your 10 if you feel you aren't working hard enough with the 6 reps at 20#s.  Rules are meant to be bent, if it means you will get your burn that way.  Good luck to you.

    "The only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday!"

  • Greetings mwseahorse,  I can understand this quandry as it has happened to me when upgrading the weight levels.  I would say to do one more week of the 6 reps at 20 paying close attention to slowing down the motion a little in stict form and then attempt the 4 reps at 22.5 the following week doing only what you can to failure at that point. This will give your system one more week for that jump to the next weight level and more time to adjust to that without injury. This has worked for me over the two years I have been doing challenges and I now do seated bicep curls with a final of 6 reps at 40lbs in strict form while watching in a mirror. (it took a while to get to this level though).