Flex, November 2009 Excerpt: Science Of A Rep!

If bodybuilding can be broken down into its truest form, then there is no single, more-important component than the rep. Read the excerpt for details.

The Foundation Of Bodybuilding
Science Of A Rep

One repetition. If bodybuilding can be broken down into its truest form - the training aspect, anyway - then there is no single, more-important component than the rep. Get the most out of each and every rep, each and every workout, and you'll be that much closer to where you want to be. Fail to do that, and you'll be spinning your wheels wondering why your physique hasn't changed in years.

    "As soon as you lose the ability to cramp the muscle on every rep, you're done," says Jim Wright, PhD, former FLEX science editor. "There are too many rep counters trying to get through the set. So many people pump so much iron and 90% have nothing to show for it. A lot of that is because they are just trying to get the set finished. They are counting reps instead of quality. If you are doing 50 reps, you want 29, 48 and 15 to all be equally good."

Science Of A Rep
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There Are Too Many Rep Counters
Trying To Get Through The Set.

Try moving fast and slow, light and heavy, high repetitions and low, because all have value and the muscle will be forced to adapt. In the end, most rep ranges have value, and most top bodybuilders use them all, at one time or another. Although there are few absolutes in bodybuilding, there is an absolute in the repetition, the atom that starts it all: focus on each one as if it was your last and you will get the best results.


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Sets & Reps: The Nut & Bolts Of Program Design! As a trainer, I always get the same questions from people: How many sets should I do? How many reps? What kind of training split?
James Chan

FLEX breaks down the foundation of the rep, and offers five examples of how you can manipulate this basic element of training in order to achieve the physique of your dreams.

For more on the science of a rep, including workout routines, training splits, and diet, nutrition and supplement advice, pick up the November issue of FLEX.