Every Bit Adds Up

by Tom Swift

I wondered why I felt sore Friday, a day after I squatted. Why I felt sore still today, two days later. (It’s always the second day that is the worst.)

Then I looked at my log.

This month I am doing five-set sessions in the rep range of 8-12. The first session I did five sets of 8 at 185 pounds. This is a moderate weight for me. I wanted to start moderate because I have been rebuilding my stance. You don’t rebuild your stance with max weight. Besides, even moderate weight takes a toll during five sets of eight-plus reps.

Here I thought in my second session I had increased the volume slightly by doing a couple more reps per set. No. In fact, I went from the bottom of the rep range to the top: I did 2-4 more reps per set and, in fact, felt so good on the last set that I did 5 additional reps — from the original 8 to 13 — so I pushed a bit beyond the range on the final set. (Sometimes, and not everyday, the hips feel so good.)

I was in a meeting this morning, thinking I had done maybe 10 more reps, total, increasing my volume by 1,850 pounds. In fact, I had done 19 more reps for an increase of 3,515 pounds. That is certainly enough to make one’s muscles a little cranky.

Just shows how it takes so little to make a difference in the loads we carry. Just a little more each time — a little more weight on the bar, a few more words on the draft, a little more emotional baggage in the proverbial overhead bin, whatever — can add up to a lot. And it can add up to a lot whether we initially notice it or not.