Barbosa-Netto (2021) investigated how hard habitually lifters train.
160 trained subjects were asked what weight they’d normally perform for 10 reps.
Researchers loaded the bar with this weight and asked the subjects to take this load to failure.
More than a quarter completed at least 19 reps. With the average being 16 reps.
While you don’t need to go to failure each time. If you’re consistently between 6-9 reps away from failure, you’re leaving a lot of gains on the table.
Steele et al (2022) took a different approach.
In the meta-analysis of 18 studies they found when subjects were asked to self-select their training weight. They were, on average, using 53% of their 1RM (for 5-15 reps).
Although this can stimulate hypertrophy and strength in novices, it may not provide a sufficient stimulus for more advanced trainers.
It’s not just resistance training…
Karissa et al (2014) instructed 129 subjects to walk/jog at light, moderate or vigorous effort.
According to heart rate data, individuals were significantly underestimating the intensity required to reach moderate or vigorous intensity effort.
In summary, the average lifter probably doesn’t put much effort into their training.
Sure, you don’t need to train to failure every set (we recommend leaving 2-3 reps in the tank).
However, if you’ve been stale with your training, it might be asking yourself the hard-hitting question – are you training hard enough?
We like to use a high-low approach with our athletes, as we believe athletes spend too much time in the middle.
Not training hard enough to get fast and strong, and not easy enough to build the engine and skills.