“3 Sets of 12” is KILLING Your Gains!!

“3 Sets of 12” is KILLING Your Gains!!

What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com. We start this video with a pop quiz utilizing
Jessie. Jessie is going to perform an incline dumbbell
bench-press and you are going to watch and see if you can spot what Jessie does wrong. Jessie, the floor is yours. The bench is yours. No pressure. There’s only millions of people watching. Here we go. So now we’re going to do a set of 12 reps. The video title is “3 Sets of 12 Is Killing
Your Gains”. Jessie is going to demonstrate how we kill
our gains. What number is that, Jess? JESSIE: Six. JEFF: Six? Okay. For all intents and purposes, he’s looking
solid right here. Now, the idea is for him to do the set to
failure. He chose a weight here. What number is that? JESSIE: That’s 12. JEFF: 12. All right. Now, did you spot what Jessie did wrong? The first thing I can say is, he wasn’t quite
at failure, but he was approaching failure. The more important point though was, if you
took out a stop watch and you go back and you watch how fast Jessie did it, his tempo
on that put him at about a 20 to 26 – I wasn’t really timing it specifically – but
20 to 26 second time for him to do that. Maybe up to 30 seconds at most for him to
do that. That tempo is not enough to illicit the hypertrophy
that he’s looking for by doing that rep range in the first place. So let me explain where this is all coming
from. When people came up with the magic number
of 12 reps – 10 to 12 reps for hypertrophy – where that was really generated from was
from studies that show that you’re ultimately, the place that you make the most gains, is
when your time under tension eclipses 45 seconds and gets closer to 60 seconds for a given
set. So if you were to do a rep with a tempo of
either a second up and three seconds on the way down – prolonging the eccentric contraction,
which is what we talk about a lot, even the Sore in Six Series – that’s four seconds
per rep. Times 12 is 48 seconds. It cross that threshold. Or if you did, maybe, a second up with a second
pause at the top and a little two second down you’re still at 4 seconds. Or even a three second down. Now you’re at five seconds. Now you’re in the 60 second range. When you do this – what you just did – you
now do the 12 reps, you do it to failure, but you do it at much too fast of a pace to
get the benefit that you were going for. Again, predicated off the fact that time under
tension is what was driving the rep range, not the fact that the rep range was. So 3 sets of 12 is killing your gains because
we become so fixated on 12. It becomes nothing about what actually led
to the picking of 12 as the magic number, and it becomes all about the magic number. So now, if we fixate on 12 – and now I have
to share a little bit of an embarrassing story for Jessie, but this is all so we can learn. When Jessie started training in here the first
thing I did was watch him do his exercises. By the way, performance-wise Jessie’s technique
on that was really good. He kept his elbows tucked here, he drove them
up over his chest, he wasn’t protracting his shoulders; everything was good. But what we want to do is when we think about
Jessie starting out training I’d just like to watch him and see what he does. As I watched him perform his first exercise
in his workout he did his sets, he didn’t take any of them to failure, he was basically
stopping a little bit short, and then he went on. His third set, or fourth set looked a little
harder, but then he went to his next exercise and he started off, on the very first set,
he stopped way short of anything that looked like failure to me. That’s when I intervened and I think I remember
“Jessie! What the-?!” No, I didn’t yell at the guy. I said “Jessie, what are you doing?! Keep going! Keep going!” And he said – what did you say? JESSIE: I said “Well, I’ve got two more sets
left.” JEFF: So he said “But I have two more sets
left.” The mentality that Jessie was thinking was
“If I lay it all on the line here in this first set, how the hell am I going to get
12 reps in the second and third set? It’s not going to happen. Especially not using the same weight.” And that is the death of the prescription
of 3 sets of 12. If that’s how you look at it a lot of things
go wrong. So let’s see some of the things that go wrong. If you take the 3 sets of 12 approach and
you grab a weight, and you do what Jessie did and you say “If I can’t make it there,
then I might have to do something to make sure that I do. So I might choose a weight that’s a little
bit lighter to start. Then the next time I come around with a workout
I’m not going to start with what I started with this time. I’m going to go with a little bit lighter
weight so I know I have a little bit of energy left to get through all three sets.” Or you’ll do what I kind of saw you doing,
too. Let’s demonstrate. He gets up here, he starts doing his first
rep. Nice and solid, all the way up. Boom. Down. All the way up, and boom. Now let’s go even with the slow – let’s
go with the right tempo. Down here, and he comes up. Cool. Down, and comes up. Now let’s say, at this point he’s four reps
in. What do you say to yourself? “There’s no way I’m making 12.” JESSIE: No way I’m making 12. JEFF: All right, so what do you do? Instinctively. JESSIE: I go half. JEFF: Let’s see. See? He cuts the rep short. We do this all the time. We start going “Shit! The only way I can get to 12 is if I abbreviate
a few of the reps in the middle. Okay now I’m at 10, 11. I think I can get the last three full reps.” But what did you do? You just basically sacrificed all of your
reps in the beginning and into the middle and maybe even at the end. Here’s why: the four reps that you did in
the beginning, they’re not the same as full reps performed when you’ve already reached
fatigue. They are basically thrown away. The reps that you did in the middle to get
all the way to the end there, those half reps, they were wasted reps because they weren’t
even full reps. Then when you get up to the very end, those
final, few reps are different in that stage than they would be had you done all full reps
up to that point. So you really didn’t get any of the productive
reps that you were looking for. So that whole set became kind of waste. So what you want to do instead is, if you
need to drop the weight on a subsequent set, drop the weight and then go back and start
doing the reps again to failure, where you’re going to fail on that rep range of 10, or
12. But more importantly, if you’ve set out with
a weight that you do 12, or 11 and you go all the way to failure, you take it all the
way to failure; you can’t do anymore. You lower down, lower down, you can barely
control it and you put the weights down. If you’ve got 11 reps, so what? Good! If you got 10, great! If you got 9, good! You’re running down that range where you’re
now looking at that time under tension and you’re coming in a little bit short. It depends on how long you delayed the reps,
but you should be more focused on the time and falling into that time failure range than
you are about a specific number. The point is, only you know the effort that
you’re putting into a set. I can see a lot, and I can see when people
are cheating through a rep a lot, but I can never ultimately tell what you feel like inside. Only you know what you’re feeling, and only
you know how much effort you’re exerting, and only you are going to be the person that
holds yourself accountable, ultimately, to the effort you’ve put forth in the gym. If you just focus on a number and you train
to a number you might be leaving a lot of gains on the table. If instead you focus on effort and what you’re
giving in that rep range, and the idea being that the focus you have at the moment is hypertrophy
– because you could be training for strength. That’s a whole different argument. The fact is, just make sure that you’re giving
your best, no matter what you’re doing and you’re not cheating yourself in the sake of
hoping that no one else is watching. Because I’m watching. I’m watching from afar. Somewhere, some way. Jessie thinks I’m the only one watching. I’m watching all of you when you do your reps. At least, you should be hearing me in your
head when you’re doing them. All right, guys. If you’re looking for a training program that
doesn’t take shortcuts – I expect hard work, but I guarantee good results by doing
it – head to ATHLEANX.com and get our ATHLEANX training program. In the meantime, if you’ve found this video
helpful, or maybe even eye opening – because we all do it. I’ve done it plenty of times. Believe me. Make sure and leave your comments and thumbs
up below and let me know what else I can cover here on this channel that will be useful to
you, and I’ll make sure I do that. All right, guys. I’ll see you soon.

100 Replies to ““3 Sets of 12” is KILLING Your Gains!!”

  1. Can you guess the reason why I am standing the way I am for the entire video?

    A. I had to stay low to make sure my head stayed in frame with Jesse sitting down.
    B. My "Sore in 6" Legs workout (to be released Saturday!) has left me plastered to the floor in this position!
    C. Giving "the boys" some fresh air and room to roam.
    D. All of the Above

  2. Dude on bench using Jedi mind tricks on us. See through to your soul I can. Know your future I do… Judge me by my technique do you, well you should not.

  3. His form seems different from what I’ve been taught. He’s pushing the weights out in front instead of straight up and putting his elbows forward. So he’s adding triceps and front delts to a pec workout. Am I wrong?

  4. bullshit.i start training at 30.i do random and obviously wrong excercises for 30 minutes a day and im building body.so i find those videos total fail ones.gl

  5. This is by far the best workout and fitness education channel on YouTube, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge!

  6. Absolutely Nobody:
    Jeff: I will do this video with my legs far apart …coz putting them together will kill my balls!!

  7. Wow. I didn't even know the science behind the 12-reps thing till now. Thank you so much. That was very insightful

  8. I have to disagree. Yes you can do this movement quicker but make sure your are actually working that muscle. Just take less break in between your sets and you will make gains still, don’t let your muscles fully recover before you start your next set

  9. Go unorthodox… forget numbers. focus on form… feel the concentration on the muscle that you are training. Mix it up/ super set…work a muscle group to failure… then go onto the next exercise…. later in the workout push another set of that muscle group that you did to failure previously…. remember…good form…. feel the concentration on that muscle that you are working on…. always mix it up

  10. And we are supposed to listen to sunken face frank over here? You arms are barely bigger than your trainee here. I can understand mounting a leaner athletic build but don’t preach about bulking gains if you don’t have atleast 20 inch arms.

  11. Video summary: dont workout like a dumbass and focus on eccentric and concentric phases and focus on tension and full rom (range of motion)

  12. I usually do my reps slowly because I am focusing on feeling the contact in my muscles and on trying to figure out the correct form and then I look around and everyone is just speeding through their reps and I feel like I am doing it wrong by going slowly (I've been going to the gym for a month now so I am still dabbling)

  13. Super informative video. I always wondered what I should do if I can't get 12 full-weight reps on each set. Good to know it's okay not to reach 12 as long as I'm pushing myself to failure with good form.

  14. The video is 8:24 long but I just spend 15 minutes reading how everyone has torn Jesse a new one. Jesse you da real MVP here 😂😂😂

  15. Seems like 12 reps is fine if you just train correctly ie pick the right weight for that range, do full reps

    The title of the video is misleading and kind of click bait imo

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