Volumes have been written in the world of bodybuilding and strength training about the value of the ‘last rep’. And the concept is valid. The idea is that as your reps continue your muscles have to exert themselves to their limit in order to squeeze out the last – most difficult – rep. If you quit before you reach this point you cheat yourself out of gains because you haven’t taxed your muscle to the limits of its capacity. And if it isn’t pushed to the limit, why should your CNS bother triggering a growth response?
Your body wants to save energy. So it won’t start growing new muscle unless the muscles you have are getting pushed to their limits and there is a clear requirement for more strength. The average guy puts, say, 140 pounds a barbell and does six or eight Bench Press reps without much difficulty, then he grinds out two or three more with a little more effort, then he gets to his last rep. If he is using a power rack or has a really trustworthy spotter he’ll genuinely strain to get the last ounce out of himself on that rep. If he doesn’t have the rack or spotter he’ll likely play it safe and quit early to avoid having the bar drop on his chest . . . long before his muscles hit his absolute limit.
Conventional training is really inefficient.
First of all, most people quit lifting on virtually every exercise before their real limits are even reached. And secondly, you have to estimate a weight that you think will tire you out within a few reps, then grind away with basically useless reps until you get to that productive last rep. See how inefficient that is?
What if there was a way to do you “last rep” first? Wouldn’t that be a revolution in fitness? The efficiency of training would skyrocket and the duration of workouts would plummet.
That is exactly why Static Contraction Training is so revolutionary; it allows you to perform your most demanding, effective, muscle stimulating rep in the first 5 seconds of every exercise. The only variable with SCT is you can sometimes choose a weight that is too light and end up doing a 15 or 20 second static hold before reaching failure. Or you can chose too heavy a weight and hold it 1 second or not get it off the pins. But that is still miles ahead of grinding out many reps that are 95% wasted effort. And once you learn your limits you’re zeroed in for the next workout which will be even more efficient.
Static Contraction Training has been showing people for a decade how they can make the fastest, most efficient gains possible. If you have never tried it you really owe it to yourself to test it out next time you go to the gym. Two great exercises to experiment with are the bench press and the leg press. Try it free right now.
Place a barbell inside a Smith machine or power rack at a height about three to four inches below your full reach. Take a shoulder-width grip on the bar. Using your pectoral (chest) muscles press the bar up an inch or two. Hold that position for a count of five while exhaling. You’ll likley be surprise how light it feels. Keep adding more weight until you can hold it 5 seconds or less. Now you know what those chest muscles are capable of. So why are you doing reps with less weight?
Position the seat of the leg press so that your legs are three or four inches from lockout when the empty sled is locked in its top position. Leave the safety locks in place for the duration of this exercise. With the safety locks in place the sled cannot descend below the starting position. Once the sled is in this top position, load on the plates. Place your feet flat on the sled a comfortable distance apart. Using your leg muscles press the sled up and inch or two. Hold that position for a count of five while exhaling. Fell light? Keep adding weight until you discover how strong you really are.
That’s the power of doing your last rep first.
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Pete Sisco is the developer of the ultra-brief, ultra-intense method of muscle building he calls Static Contraction training. He has authored and co-authored six titles published by McGraw Hill on the subject of efficient strength training and is a multi-million dollar online author and publisher of innovative fitness e-products.
His training articles and methods have been featured in many mainstream publications including, Men?s Journal, Golf, Men?s Fitness, Flex, Muscle & Fitness and others. His exclusive training method is extensively featured in Tony Robbins? Ultimate Edge product.
It is estimated that over 200,000 trainees have used his methods. His books have been translated into Japanese, Italian, Swedish and Russian and his e-products sell in over 80 countries worldwide. Free information about Static Contraction is available at www.StaticContraction.com
Pete Sisco is the author/editor of more than a dozen books on strength training. He is the foremost expert on Static Contraction training.