Do Quality Reps

The two lost commandments that you never hear about are “Thou shall exercise with weights regularly,” and “Thou shall do quality reps.” I follow those rules religiously!

During this morning’s workout, I coupled back squats with standing leg curls for 5 sets of 10 reps each with 3 warm-up sets beforehand. It was done at a fairly brisk pace, and the workout was complete in about half an hour.

I’ll train again this afternoon doing more squats (this time with a safety squat bar using a wide stance), reverse hypers, standing calf raises, and Swiss ball side flexions. That workout should also take about half an hour or so.

The point I want to make is this: It’s not how much you do, but how you do it!

Let’s return to the back squat for a second. Here’s what I did…

There’s not a huge amount of weight on the bar, but there’s more than enough to get the job done: 225 lb is roughly 30 lb over my body weight, and if you consider just the work sets alone, 50 reps times 225 lb equals 11,250 lb.

If you factor in 86% of my body weight (see page 88 of my book The Elite Trainer for details on “Precise Load Calculations”), then add an extra 8,600 lb for a total workload of 19,850 lb. In fact, it’s over 20,000 lb because I did some additional reps at the end!

Keep in mind, that doesn’t include what I did for the leg curls and it’s only workout 1 of 2 today, so it gives you perspective on how the numbers can add up, but there’s more to the story…

I want you to take a look at my form. You’ll notice that I’m doing full squats – we’re talking “ass to grass”, “butt to heels”, “hamstrings draping calves”, “leave a stain on the ground” squats!

And these squats are being performed in a slow, controlled manner – 4 seconds down each rep for a total time under tension of roughly 50 seconds per set. There’s a big difference in doing 10 reps of squats in 50 seconds compared to half that time, trust me!

You’ll also notice that my form is very consistent from set to set. It doesn’t deviate whatsoever.

Since YouTube is picky sometimes with music, I muted the sound, but to prove that each set was separate, there’s something different in each video segment. See if you can spot it?

By the way, I “capped” off the final set with some additional reps of breathing squats (all reps were performed with nasal breathing).

Bottom Line: Don’t worry about how much weight you have on the bar – it’s how you lift that weight that matters. The “quantity” of “quality” reps is what really counts at the end of the day!

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