One More Rep? Not So Fast…

Jermaine Sandals WhitehouseYou hear it all the time at commercial gyms, especially in the bench press area. Buddies egging their buddies on to do one more rep under severe stress and strain, to just keep the bar moving and not be a pussy. In most cases the spotter also gets a good curl workout in “assisting” the bar the rest of the way up.

I wrote in an earlier post that when you build your own home gym you have to self-motivate most of the time. But still the mantras of “no pain, no gain” and “one more rep” are tough to shake. It’s actually best to ignore those voices and leave a rep in the tank as some of the best and brightest (and successful) coaches advise their clients. There’s always another set or another day when you work out in your own home gym.

My goal in working out at home is to get stronger and someday hit the 200# overhead press, 300# bench, 400# squat, and 500# deadlift – lofty goals indeed. But I’m usually not so laser focused that I ignore my body when it says not to do another rep. I’d like to say that I always take my own advice to heart but sometimes ego does get in the way. On one of my last workouts before Christmas last year, I was doing a set of bench presses. In looking at my iPhone Notes log from December 2012, I saw I’d been stronger the year before. I’d been dieting during December 2013, though, so all things weren’t equal. But in the heat of the moment my brain was just focused on getting that one last rep in that one last set, even though I was tired and it was too heavy. I managed to get it but just as I did I heard a “pop” in my left pec/shoulder area and knew I was done for the day.

The damage done in that quest for one more rep took several months to heal. I saw my chiro for some ART treatments, worked on kettlebell swings and Turkish Getups with light bells and did Dan John’s 40-Day Program five days per week for six weeks. By mid-April 2014 my shoulder soreness was a thing of the past and I was in great shape again for our trip to Sandals Whitehouse in Jamaica.

My wife and I love to work out a couple times while on vacation just to keep the groove going. Most places just have machines and light dumbbells so I hopped on the bench press machine and dropped the pin to where I thought I should be in relation to free weights. Whoops…not the best idea. My just-repaired shoulder popped yet again and the agony and annoyance began anew.

Flash forward to present and my shoulder still isn’t 100%. I’m planning on working bench, one-arm kettlebell presses, and getups into Pavel’s Vodka and Pickles workout to see if I can strengthen the shoulder again to be pain free. And this time I’ll heed my own advice.

One more rep? Yeah, maybe tomorrow.