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3 Tips to Get the Most Out of EVERY Rep by Mike Kneuer

Mike Kneuer
Mike Kneuer – Barbell

3 Tips to Get the Most Out of EVER Rep by Mike Kneuer

You’re in the gym repping away and not getting any measurable progress? It’s sad but true. Most people working out don’t get the results they could and should be getting. Here are 3 tips get the most benefit out of each rep.

Focus on the Contraction

Too many inexperienced lifters just lift the weight up and down and go through the motions. They do not actively engage each muscle and contract it with full force on each rep. By contracting the muscle as hard as you can on each rep it helps to recruit maximal muscle fibers, which leads to more strength and size gains.


Visualization is key in many aspects of life to succeed. Many successful entrepreneurs, artists, and even bodybuilders use visualization to help them succeed. For our purposes, we are talking about 2 types of visualization.

First, by visualizing the body you desire, you put your subconscious mind to work. I’m not talking about having a general idea of what you want to look like…I’m saying burn a clear picture of what your perfect body looks like to you and revisit it daily. By visualizing your goals you have a 153% increase (ok I made that statistic up but it greatly increases your success rate) in the likelihood of attaining it.

Second, I want you to visualize the muscle you are training while you are performing the exercise. See the muscle turning red and filling up with blood while you contract it as hard as you can. The mind muscle connection is very real and will allow for maximal muscle fiber recruitment. Studies have shown that visualizing your muscles working increases strength.

Don’t Forget the Negative

I’m one of the most positive people you’ll ever meet. My glass is always half full and I can’t stand negative talk. But the one negative I embrace is the negative portion of the rep. Too many people push the weight up and then lower it with no control like an anchor slamming into the ocean. I usually go over to these poor souls, give them a hug, and explain the follow:

There are 2 types of muscle contractions on most lifts. You have the Concentric portion where the muscle shortens (eg. the curling part of a bicep curl) and the Eccentric portion where the muscle elongates (eg. the lowering of the bar in the bicep curl). Each portion of the rep is equally important and the latter is oftentimes forgotten. I accentuate the eccentric (negative) portion of the rep for at least a 2-1 or 3-1 ration. This means I will curl the bar up in 1 second and take 2-3 seconds to lower the bar under strict control to the original position. By only focusing on the concentric and ignoring the eccentric you are only getting ½ the benefit and doing ½ the work.And you’re definitely didn’t not reading this blog to get ½ the benefit. You want RESULTS!