The science of perfect repetition

The science of perfect repetition

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In In the previous article we already learned that a repeat is not always a repeat; there are many factors that make small differences per rep. "What difference does it make?" you would say. In a sense, it is of course true; that you train a few times a week and meet your protein and calorie requirements are the basis of your progression and form the vast majority of the potential progression you make. But if you want more, if you want to go beyond 'the basics' and then average, you will have to do more than average and look beyond the basics. Today I show you the science of perfect repetition!

Many small steps ...

The small differences that a quality repetition in itself makes compared to throwing and throwing will add up to absolutely noticeable differences in the long term. Since many people are willing to spend a lot of euros on supplements, schedules and training tools which are also part of fine tuning progression, these articles can definitely be a (free) added value in your progression! Steps in the right direction, no matter how small, will automatically take you to your destination.

So last time we discussed the ways in which individual repetitions can differ from each other. Today we are going to see what the effect of this is in practice.

Is more better?

Before we continue, I want to explain once more why this is an important story. Everyone has got his or her current physical and their current results by doing a certain amount of work, turning volume, using supplements and perhaps also using resources; if you do enough, something will happen automatically. However, there is a limit to the amount of work you can recover from, a limit to the amount of sleep you can have per day, a limit to the amount of food or resources that you can absorb; we will therefore have to make all our progress within those limits.

If you just do something, I can tell you with certainty that you use more volume than is necessary to obtain a training incentive. You therefore burden your body more than necessary, leaving less room for recovery that could have led to extra progression.

reduced additional yield

No, more is not always better

More is not always better; once you get the threshold have achieved how much work it took to generate a growth incentive, all the extra work you do is becoming less and less significant. This is called the law of the reduced surplus-yield and this is something that we encounter everywhere in physiology. Someone who goes from never training to 1 training will see a lot of positive health effects. If the same person starts training from 1 to 2 times, the extra effects will be slightly less. From 2 to 3 again slightly less, etc.

If you want optimum progression, it is therefore important that you ensure that the quality of the work that you do is high, so that you need less, so that we can deliver more significant work within our limited recovery capacity.

So many ways to miss your goals

If we look at the article about repetitions from last time in practice, it means that we can get much more out of each repetition than we are used to. If we look at it from the other side, there are a lot of ways in which we can completely or partially miss the mark. Below I want to deal with this:


Execution, or in other words execution. Many people are left with a lot of stitches, especially with insulation work. Maybe this is against your first feeling, but what is the difference between a compound and isolation exercise? With a compound, the goal is to train a lot of tissue at the same time, right? While with isolation exercises you focus much more specifically on one muscle or on a specific stimulus. So think again: where would implementation be most important? (I am not talking here about the risk of injury, but about generating a specific incentive).

When in a compound exercise (part of) the tension shifts between muscles, that is less important for the desired stimulus; much more with an isolation exercise; If you smuggle a lot, or if you do not set up your exercise properly, then it is simply guesswork what the effect of that exercise or training is, except that you are certain that you have caused a systemic incentive. This can be a very inefficient way of training for the above reason (read the heading 'is more better' again); recovery capacity is limited!

perfect repetition

Work pace and intention

The training goal should determine the work pace and intention and not the other way around. Every exercise has a point where this exercise is the heaviest and where there is a 'rest' moment; pausing at 1 of these 2 points can have a totally different effect on your training incentive and also on the amount of volume that you can turn away during that training. If you get away explosively from a side raise, you manipulate the exercise so that it gives the most resistance at the bottom and you put your shoulders in the long position; if you control the movement calmly and calmly, and if you squeeze a little extra at the top, then you are actually loading the muscle in the short position.

Total load

If you choose the wrong load for an exercise, this can greatly influence your training incentive; too much weight on the bar will influence the execution of your exercises, too little weight on the bar may not lead to, for example, the neural adaptation you had in mind.

Reps, sets and exercises

If you choose the wrong amount of repetitions, sets or even exercises, you may never reach the treshhold for the intended stimulus or muscle. In addition, each exercise has its own resistance curve, as you may know by now; this can have a huge impact on choosing the correct exercises.

Rest times

A hugely underrated tool; the amount of rest determines to what extent you have recovered when you start the next set; do you want to be fully rested after each set, so that you can generate a lot of power and you give your fast twitch fibers and nervous system a lot of thunder, or are you in a phase where you want to metabolically stress your muscles and in that way want growth bring about?

perfect repetition


Your daily diet has a huge influence on recovery after a certain training incentive. Your training can still be as perfect, if the nutrients for recovery are not present, the final effect of that training will not be as desired. Nutrition and training must complement each other, not work against each other.

If we look at rest times, we see that sometimes the goal may be to train metabolic instead of effecting a neurological adaptation. The nutritional status, for example the amount of glycogen present, will definitely have an effect on this.

Create the perfect repeat for more results!

So it is clear that if we use our repetitions in the wrong way, we will get stuck faster; anyone can get away with some rumbling, and increasing work volume will cause some progress. However, you can't just keep stacking volume on volume on volume until you have workouts of 2.5 hours at a time; this is A. not efficient, and B. there comes a point that you do more work than you can recover from. By using each rep correctly, you ensure that each rep contributes to achieving your goals, instead of getting more and more in your way.

The coming articles we will talk about rest periods, periodization, rest days, stress, sleep; how do we manage everything so that we control all these factors in order to achieve optimum progress.

Jan Willem van der Klis

Instagram: @Jay_Whey

This blog is written by

Jan Willem van der Klis

"My focus is on obtaining and disseminating the best possible knowledge to optimize training and nutrition"

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