This is something I call “The Stop.” It’s the point in resistance training where your brain overrides your muscles and stops you from completing any more reps.
As a rule this is actually a great function for us to have! Our brain prevents us from injuring ourselves and otherwise preserving our way of life by using this reflex.
The drawback is our brain will typically kick this reflex into motion JUST before we hit the optimal zone for muscle growth and development.
Damn you brain! … Yet again, you are counterproductive to working out and are working against us!
If you recall from one of my old posts “insert here” we discussed in some detail how the brain functions off of optimal energy storage and usage, as well as doing what it can to prolong our lives.
Now, before we continue, I need to address this:
There may be some out there going “But wait Ferret; if our brain is supposed to stop us from hurting ourselves, and this is a natural reflex that occurs prior to this “zone” isn’t this dangerous advice??”
Here’s my answer: There is a popular mantra in the gym that states “no pain, no gain.”
If approached by the uneducated, this can cause some serious damage to your body as everyone’s pain threshold falls into different categories and visibly forcing your body into rep ranges where your form goes to complete shite will often result in injury.
However, as with most “Bro-science” and myths there is a strong theme of truth buried underneath the surface.
The ideal rep range for stressing muscle tissue and thus providing a stimulus for growth and development is incredibly uncomfortable, especially to a novice, and is associated with a degree of pain.
So the safest way to attain this is as follows.
When you start to feel like you want to quit (notice I did not say need to!) assess the situation. How is your form? If your form is still good, you’re close, but not close enough! Keep pushing forward, turn off that “stop” mechanism and instead focus on your form. Yes, it should be burning. Yes it should be uncomfortable. YES it will hurt!
When your form starts to fail, and you start “kipping” to complete repetitions. Congratulations. You have achieved the optimal zone, and you are in a safe place to stop.
This is the zone right before muscle failure and it will take you a while to master falling into it.
But keep with it. Don’t give up. Don’t surrender to the brain! Deprogram “The Stop.”
The brains intentions are all well and good, but he’s working against you under stress.
Deprogram “The Stop” and reprogram your focus. Focus on your muscles and their form and function. Tell the brain to stop being a back seat driver, and move forward on your progress.