Weider’s Forced Reps Principle


Forced reps involve doing an exercise to failure and then continuing to push out an extra rep or two with the help of a training partner. Forced reps are an advanced technique and generate a lot of muscle soreness so there is no reason to exceed three forced reps. If you are able to do more than three forced reps chances are that you didn’t really push yourself to failure.

Forced reps are intended for workouts that use a limited number of work sets. Most often several sets are performed to warm up the muscles before doing a work set. It is only during this top set that failure is reached.

In contrast, this principle can’t be applied to volume programs that are based on a specified number of sets and reps such as the StrongLifts 5 x 5 program, than forced reps won’t work as you are not training to failure on any of these sets.

If you are like me and train alone this is one less tool I have to work with. If you go to a local gym you will always have someone around that can spot you for a set or two. Even one really hard set done with a spotter with a couple forced reps is enough to make serious gains.

Monday’s Workout – Pull

  • Wide-grip Hammer Chin-ups (BW=163 lbs)
    • 75 lbs, 3 sets x 3 reps*
  • Wide-grip Pull-ups (BW=163 lbs)
    • 10 lbs Backpack, 2 sets x 12 reps
  • Close-grip Chin-ups (BW=163 lbs)
    • 45 lbs, 3 sets x 5 reps
  • Wide-grip Pull-ups (BW=163 lbs)
    • 2 sets x 20 reps
  • Deadlift
    • 205 lbs x 1 rep
    • 275 lbs x 1 rep
    • 295 lbs x 1 rep
    • 345 lbs x 1 rep
  • Shrugs
    • 265 lbs, 2 sets x 12 reps


* I couldn’t touch my chin on the very last rep of the third set. Most of the reps performed today were in strict fashion however I had to kick a few times in order to pull myself up.

Thursday’s Workout – Pull

  • Chin-ups (BW=161 lbs + 72.5 lbs), 3 sets x 3 reps
  • Raw Deadlift* (205 lbs, 275 lbs, 285 lbs, 345 lbs, 325 lbs), singles
  • Barbell Row (190 lbs), 3 sets x 7 reps
  • Shrugs (260 lbs), 2 sets x 12 reps
  • Barbell Curl (100 lbs), 2 sets x 12 reps


* I failed on the 345 lbs deadlift but was able to lift the weight at least 5 or 6 inches from the ground. I have also decided that each time I fail to be cure to include an additional set with a lesser weight to still ensure I get a complete workout.