It’s about how much you can lift with good form. Half reps don’t count and they don’t help you very much. Pick a weight you can handle, pinch your shoulders back, and slowly lower the bar until your upper arms are parallel with the ground. Push the weight back up as quickly as possible while exhaling. That’s a real rep.
Use a spotter.
I‘m not saying you should use a spotter for safety, although that‘s important. I’m saying you should use a spotter because it will help you push more weight. The reason is twofold. First, having someone there to grab the bar in case you fail will ease your mind and allow you to push your limits and put more weight on the bar than you thought you could. Second, a good spotter will also motivate you. Studies have shown that by having a person yell while you struggle to lift a weight will help you get past sticking points. Having someone yelling encouraging words to you enhances this effect.
Don’t wear gloves.
Wearing gloves actually robs you of strength. We all have a reflex in which when pressure is applied to our palms we push back. This automatic push helps us get past the bottom portion of the lift. Wearing gloves blocks the sensors in our palms that recognize this push and therefore stops us from lifting as much weight as we could. Don’t wear gloves. It’s worth a few callouses.
Scott Bitterman, MS, CSCS, Owner of Emerge Athletics.