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I've been following the tri-newbies weight lifting plan for quite a while now. The plan really emphasises high reps and low weight to build up muscular 'endurance' and not necessarily muscular 'strength'.

I can do 3 set of 12 reps @ 140 lbs. flat bench w/o much problem but I never lift heavy: 1) I don't usually have a spotter 2) I'm not really looking to be 'twisted railroad steel'.

My son is back from vacation and we were both killing time yesterday so I had him spot me. I figured I could do 200 lbs. bench no problem. 3 set X 12 Reps X 140 lbs. should translate into one rep of 200 lbs., right?

Wrong! I could get the weight down OK, but getting it back up was another story altogether. Went down to 190 and had the same problem. :( I quit after that, my ego can only take so much abuse.)

Thus proves the theory of muscular endurance. Even though I can lift 5,040 lbs. of cumulative weight with little rest, I can't raise the weight 45% and do just one rep.

I guess if I'd like to be able to bench 200 lbs. by the end of August, I'd better get busy.

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You can still increase your strength by lifting lower weight and higer reps. You just have to increase the weight on a regular basis. How long have you been lifting that specific amount of weight? Our muscles have memory, so if you've been doing the same amount of weight over time, that's all your muscles will be able to do.
Also, building "twisted railroad steel" not only looks freaky, it's a lot heavier to carry around on your runs and rides
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