Have you ever been reading all about a new set of exercises that you want to try out? I mean, everything is going well until you start seeing more percentages than in an algebra textbook. This will be the point where I will click over to somewhere else, that can explain their plan in an easier way. I have only just started to take the time (not much, by the way) to figure out what my lifting percentages are. By doing this, not only am I being able to more closely customize my what I lift but I also get to know my limits a bit better. In a sport, or hobby, in which you are constantly pushing yourself to new limits, wouldn’t it be nice to know what the ones that you have already are? As time moves forward and you are looking into moving into an intermediate or advanced level, knowing specific numbers over guesswork will be important.
You don’t need some long and drawn out guide, or a twenty minute video to really find out your rep numbers, just start by grabbing a dumbbell. To get started, pick a specific exercise, like a curl, and get a weight to see how many reps you can do with it. This is not the safest way and I don’t recommend starting off with this but I will find out what my max is, before anything else. To do this, I grab a dumbbell and use some good old fashioned trial and error, until I find a weight that I can only bring up one time. After writing down the number of weights on the dumbbell, I now know my max. As we move into the bigger weights and a bar is required, make sure you have someone spot you. It is an incredibly dangerous idea to find your maxes on heavier lifts by yourself.
You can also do the opposite, which would be to start with what you can do more reps of and work your way up from there. When it comes to specifics, you can get as technical and detailed as you would like, although, it will save you some time if you find two to three percentages. There is a wide difference, depending upon who you ask, about what percentages are the most important. When I need to know, I will figure out my 25%, 50%, and 100% rep range, the last one being what I max out at. By having these three base percentages, guesstimating becomes a lot easier as I progress. The beauty of this method is that you can be as detailed, or not, as you want to be. As long as finding out where your strength levels lie does not change the time that you are actually lifting, you have full freedom to learn whichever rep percentages that you want.
Even though it is often ignored, you have nothing to lose by scheduling some time to find out more about how you lift. Although it might seem like a time drain, learning, literally, what your strengths are will make you a smarter lifter. So, the next time that you go and grab some weights, take a pencil and paper with you and learn how to scientifically get bigger. This will require a small level of time and actual work, you owe it to yourself to do this because the end result will be a much smarter lifter when it is all done.