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Back to Basics

If we aren’t vigilant with our exercise, like most self-improvement endeavors, we can backslide. Proper form, appropriate intensity and regular frequency are exercise variables that can all begin to drift. As we begin the New Year, One on One’s Focus Point of the Week is addressing the most basic of these variables: Proper Form.

Failing to exercise with proper form will, at best, feed dysfunctional movement and, at worst, lead to injury. This alone is reason enough to invest ourselves into knowing and practicing proper form while training.

The “Back to Basics” Focus Point of the Week series teaches and reinforces the most important concepts to help you exercise safely and effectively.


By Bruce Burke

Last Updated: 2/11/24

Resistance training can be tough, especially the last few reps. Let’s face it, they are uncomfortable and can be mentally and physically challenging! However, they might be the most important of the entire set.

For those looking for enhanced muscle tone, strength and endurance, the last reps have a huge impact. The same is true for those looking for body composition changes. Increased focus leads to increased intensity, which in turn positively affects EPOC and creates more exercise “after burn.” Regardless of the benefits that this higher intensity training provides, it is important not to sacrifice good form. Proper body position, posture, range of motion, and speed of movement must be maintained from repetition number one through the end of the set.

Approach the first few reps as a build-up, preparing your neuromuscular system for the reps that will stimulate the greatest physiological change. During these first few reps, we are strong, focused, and can perform as expected. As the set progresses and fatigue sets in. we might begin having thoughts of “this hurts” or “I need to stop.” In addition, our muscles are physiologically becoming less capable of working. It is at this point that we must bear down and focus. Challenge yourself to make the last three reps look exactly like the first three. Remind yourself that you have no more than 12-15 seconds of exercise left…you can handle anything for 12-15 seconds!

Focusing on the last three reps means being mentally focused, sticking your endpoints and maintaining good posture. If you do these things, your last three reps will be done with purpose and yield the greatest possible benefits. For this week, focus on making the last three reps of every exercise look like the first three and maximize your training efforts!