The Hard Truth Math on Missing Reps

“To [add ten pounds] or not. That is the question.” If you’ve strength trained for any significant amount of time, you know the feeling. We’re always making choices about the weight on the bar. Do you play it safe and stay there or do you add weight if you’re unsure if you’ll make it?

There is no substitute for self-awareness. 

The quality of your training decisions will be directly correlated to how well you know yourself, how well you know your ability, and how you feel on any particular day. Nonetheless, we still need to make real choices to put weight on the bar and sometimes that leads to missed lifts. 

There are some harsh truths about missing lifts. 

While some view missed lifts as a part of the game, few understand how much they can undermine a training session. Let’s do some math for clarity:

5-5-5Back Squat

Using a classic three sets of five reps in the back squat, let’s consider two common scenarios. Let’s say ‘Athlete A’ holds 200lbs across three successful sets. In this case, ‘Athlete A’ has done 1000lbs of work each set for a total of 3000lbs of work. Now, let’s say “Athlete B” makes a classic error in choosing bar weight. She makes 200lbs on the first set and 215 on the second set, but only makes two reps at 225 on the third set. The first set is 1000lbs of work, the second garnered 1075lbs of work, and the third set only brought in 450lbs of work for a total of 2,525lbs. 

Quickly, the impact of missed lifts becomes more clear. If you want to get stronger, you’ll need both intensity and volume to do so. It’s imperative that you’ve got the right weight on the bar to improve. An incredibly important part of getting better is making the lifts set out for you. In some cases, having more success at lower weights adds up to the kind of math that makes you strong. 

Don’t let your ego hurt your arithmetic.

1/19/23 WOD


Barbell Floor Press

Complete 3 rounds for quality of:

8 Pause Barbell Hip Thrusts
10 Single Arm DB Row (ea)

Then, complete the following for time:

1 6th St Hill Run
40 Push Ups
1 Bull Run
50 KB Front Rack Squats (62/44)
1 6th Street Hill Run


Spend 12 minutes on kipping pull up drills from a box..

Then, complete 3 rounds for quality of:

12 PVC Hollow Rocks
15 Banded Straight Arm Lat Pull Downs

Then, complete 5 rounds for reps of:

3 Box Jumps (30/24)
6 Alt DB Snatches (70/50)
9 Burpees
-Rest 1 Min-