Think Thin Thursday ~ It's Shocking to Learn How Muscles Function

Real Estate Agent with Florida Supreme Realty SL514814

The NERVE of me to leave out a critical and useful component of how our musculoskeletel system operates. In last week's Think Thin Thursday I touched on visualizing and Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD made a comment there that expresses its use very well. Beginners may not grasp this understanding initially although if you continue working out for a while you'll be able to feel what she's saying. Follow the slower repetition concept and it may become clearer sooner.

What is Muscle? Essentially it's body tissue which has the ability to contract and in turn represents the power source we operate within. There are three types we deal with skeletal, cardiac and smooth. We're looking at only the skeletal contingent here, that tissue which allows us to move. We don't really consciously think about it we just get up and move, always pushing away or pulling towards. Understand that every motion we undertake only involves muscle contraction. The contraction comes from energy pulses the brain sends to the respective muscle motor neurons. Our bones and skeleton aren't haphazardly constructed either. They are a myriad of levers of all lengths and ability but undeniably a bunch of simple levers we learned about in grade school. Connect those levers to a powerful muscle and the World becomes your oyster, physiologically speaking!

This might sound a little tricky at first but I want you to know that it is going to bring faster results, less time exercising and my favorite, fewer injuries. Muscle composition differentiates the marathoner from the sprinter in other words explosive power from nearly unlimited endurance. We all have both types of this muscle fiber but it's the ratio that is the key.  These are either fast twitch or slow twitch muscles and we'll find out which is more prevalent in YOU in a minute. Along with that, think of our tendons as the liaison between muscle and bone. Those attachment points also play a huge role in how we move those bones too.

We always hear that we must do 10 to 12 repetitions in each set but that's just the general rule of thumb. I want you to understand that optimal performance can be gained by knowing your perfect number of reps for each exercise. We're using the machines or free weights here and need to find the maximum single rep weight you can muster. You will need to do this prior to working out and after a brief warm-up for each exercise. You will need a spotter to do this safely. Now go through each of your regular exercises using the heaviest weight you can handle without a break in form and perform 1 rep. This is going to be your baseline number! Sit down and relax while you figure out 80% of that weight you lifted and transfer it to the weight / rep card you use to track your progress. Not good with percentages? Just multiply it by .8 instead.

Now you are going to repeat your circuit with the new calculated weight and count each rep until you can no longer complete one more full rep. There may be some exercises where only 8 reps were performed sometimes as little as 5 or you might have done 18 or 20. THAT number whatever it is is now your SET goal. Remember repetitions make up a set, sets make up a circuit, circuits make up a workout! Forget about the 10 or 12 reps you were used to unless that's the number you successfully completed. This isn't an easy thing to do, in fact it's very, very difficult, but what you've done is calculated your body's greatest point of efficiency for maximum muscle stimulation and growth. Working to failure in every set of every workout is an obligation to strive for. Ultimately, you'll move from one exercise to the next as quickly as possible. As stated before our goal is intensity and along with it follows great success. 


I'm all about efficiency in nearly all endeavors and

while I've mentioned previously that I hate working

out what I hate even more is doing something unnecessary

  which could potentially thwart my efforts toward success.

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Comments (7)

Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

Good morning, Kevin J. May the  number of reps and form are more important than heavy weights....once a week, I do many sets (6 or 7) of 10 reps of a much lighter weight than I normally target muscles are fatiqued... I don't reach the point of burning, but they're fatiqued... and I take the next day off....

Mar 07, 2019 03:15 AM
Kevin J. May

Sometimes you just have to get your pump on Barbara. A lot of work for little strength benefit but it does feel good, mentally!

Mar 07, 2019 04:20 AM
Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

Thanks for sharing!

I hate working out what I hate even more is doing something unnecessary which could potentially thwart my efforts toward success.

Mar 07, 2019 03:54 AM
Kevin J. May

You've captured the essence Sham, you're welcome!

Mar 07, 2019 04:29 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Kevin. All I know is I don't move like I used to move. Need more work! Enjoy your day!!

Mar 07, 2019 04:02 AM
Kevin J. May

I couldn't agree more Wayne and truth be told I don't like it but I gotta do it.

Mar 07, 2019 04:32 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, Kevin... this was really interesting. I've been doing weight-bearing exercises for some 40 years now... long before anyone thought it was the thing "to do." And yet so much more to know (and so little time in which to learn it)!

Mar 07, 2019 04:28 AM
Kevin J. May

We know less about the the body than we do about the Earth and its oceans so I wouldn't feel bad. You know enough about your body and that's all that really matters Nina. Great bones!

Mar 07, 2019 07:26 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Good morning,  Kevin - I heard when it comes to repetition- - -13 is optimal versus ten or some other number. Any truth to that or does it vary based on what you are trying to achieve. This is for basic fitness nothing else.

Mar 07, 2019 07:03 AM
Kevin J. May

You must know your maximum single rep weight before making that determination. I've seen people who can fully activate their muscle fiber in as little as 4 reps and others who need 25 to match the same amount of inroad. There is a fine balance to achieve maximum benefit although 10 to 15 reps is where most people feel comfortable. I don't exercise to be comfortable Michael.

Mar 07, 2019 07:39 AM
Michael Jacobs

Thank you, Kevin:  isn't comfort an oxymoron of sorts as far as exercise is concerned? 

Mar 07, 2019 12:10 PM
Kevin J. May

It could be argued in some circles.

Mar 07, 2019 06:33 PM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Many ignore the tendons, which help the muscles move...A

Mar 07, 2019 03:31 PM
Kevin J. May

The body would have a hard time getting around without them Alexandra. They adapt well to exercise and love a little boost in protein to be on the safe side. 

Mar 07, 2019 06:52 PM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Kevin- of the many ways to exercise, I prefer the weight bearing exercises. My trainer who was a former MMA fighter got me in shape quickly but some thought the weights were too heavy. But, I never did more than what I felt was comfortable. 

Mar 07, 2019 06:13 PM
Kevin J. May

Once you know your body well enough it'll speak to you. It  might be a whisper but you'll hear it.

Mar 07, 2019 06:55 PM