If you want to get better at something, you do it more. That’s a pretty simple concept that’s often lost in fitness and in strength and conditioning. That’s why you can get stronger with random reps by adding them to your daily life.
If I’m trying to improve my tennis serve, play a sport more often, or make a higher percentage of 3-foot putts, I’m going to practice them more. If I consistently practice positive reps, my body will become more comfortable performing that action, and I will become better at it.
Fitness isn’t unlike mastering a new technique or practicing the particulars of a sport or skill. The more reps we have under our belt, the better we will become. Training and “workout” routines can often become overwhelming for beginners, so they would do well to exchange the word “workout” for “practice.”
With a “workout,” many people beat themselves to a pulp, wait a week to recover, and then hit repeat. Additionally, many have a “hero” mentality in the gym, where they feel as if they must make up for every poor nutritional and lifestyle decision from the past week with a one-hour Herculean effort.
Can you relate? Maybe you know a guy?
Here is a different approach that’s especially effective for beginners: Rather than only “working out,” “practice” exercises several times each day. For example, if you are trying to get better at pull-ups, perform 4-8 sets throughout the day.
Let’s say you can perform 6 pull-ups, and you have a goal of 15. Rather than going to the gym and doing 3 sets of 5 in a 10-minute period, perform repetitions throughout the day.
In the morning, perform 2 perfect pull-ups. After your morning coffee, perform 2 more. After lunch, hit 2 more pull-ups. Whenever an opportunity presents itself, bang a few out.
Don’t perform your max, just a few perfect reps. This will allow your body to gain strength and develop “cleaner” neural pathways without tearing down muscle fibers and becoming fatigued.
With this approach, you will accumulate more repetitions each day, week, and month, and you will become stronger and more efficient with your exercises.
You can follow this approach to get stronger with random reps with nearly any exercise: push-ups, body squats, planks, etc.
This doesn’t mean that you have to stop going to the gym. You can add these reps on top of what you do already. But by getting more reps under your belt, and by being more consistent, you’ll get better at performing the movement, and you’ll feel more comfortable being—and staying—active.
It’s an incredibly simple concept, but it’s very effective. If you doubt me, give it a shot, but don’t be surprised when you’re doing 5, 10, or 15 more reps than you’re used to.
Fitness is a lifestyle. If we take positive steps more often, we get positive results. Don’t overcomplicate it!