Do 12 Reps With Your 10-Rep Max
The very definition of a maximum rep set is that you can't perform more than the specified number of reps. If you can squeeze out another rep, there are only two explanations: either the rep was ugly or you weren't working at your true max.
But if you alter your definition of a set slightly, there could be a third explanation. Imagine doing a quad-burning set of high-rep squats with your 10RM. The catch is that you have to get 12 reps.
To do this, you somehow have to conserve energy. Here we'll use the rest-pause method. (The old-school lifters called these "breathing squats.") It might look like this:
- Do 6 straight reps
- Rest for a few seconds at the top of the squat
- Do a couple more reps
- Rest again without racking the bar
- Repeat until you hit 12 total reps
You can use this rest-pause method to tack on one or more small sets of a few extra reps on virtually any exercise. You can even re-rack the bar or put the weights down between sets if you want. It's not cheating if you plan to do it. The less you rest and the more extra reps you perform, the more "dense" – and painful – the workout will be.