Coach Jesper – Perform Like An Athlete

Overcome plateau with slower reps

Tommy was in the gym, doing his pull-ups, and he could feel that he had not been able to progress lately in his lifts. He was stuck on the same weight, and in his pull-ups, he could not seem to get past 20 kilos added to his body weight. For the second week in a row where he tried to set a new personal record, he couldn’t manage to surpass it.

Tommy was disappointed that he could not seem to figure out how to surpass his plateau. As he was sitting in the locker room, a guy from the gym came over to him and asked if he had set a new personal record.

Tommy was silent for a moment and answered that today, and last time, he hadn’t managed to set a new personal record. He felt he was plateauing. The guy said that he had experienced the same and found that the solution was to stimulate the muscles in a new way. He told Tommy that he would usually do reps quite fast. “Same,” answered Tommy. “For him, it helped to slow down reps to do 6 seconds eccentric and concentric for each rep,” he told Tommy. Tommy said, “Maybe I should try that, and it is perfect as I am resetting next week.”

The guy told Tommy that he should 100% do it but also remember to lower the amount of sets, as it gets very intense for the muscles in the beginning.

“Uh,” said Tommy, “then I should probably rethink my choices.” The guy looked at him and said, “No, if you want to progress, then you should do it. It is also good as you can shorten your workouts, as you get more out of a little amount.”

Tommy went home and was thinking about making the change, and thought he should give it a try.

The next week, Tommy was back in the gym to start his workout with a slower speed in his reps. He noticed very quickly that he couldn’t lift the same amount of weight and had to lower it a bit. After lowering the weight, he got going and could feel how much more exhausted his muscles would be, but also the extent he had to engage his muscles.

As Tommy was doing the second set, he began to feel a bit scared that he might not be able to get the bar up again. He controlled his breath and kept pushing and control over the weight, and managed to finish his set. He really understood why the guy in the locker room told him to just start with 2 sets.

Three months later, Tommy was back to try to set a personal record. He finished his warmup and started slowly doing a few reps. After a few reps, he took some time to rest and added 5 kilos to his weight. 20 minutes later, he was now ready to set his personal record in the pull-ups. He added up to 25 kilos, took a big breath in, and got into a hang. Tommy pulled with all his strength and felt he struggled a bit at the top, but he tried to give it all he had and managed to get over the bar with his chin.

Tommy got down to the ground and celebrated that he finally set a new personal record, and that it worked to lower the speed of the reps.

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