Gym Tip: Can Counting Up Make a Difference?

When performing repetitions of an exercise – like a bicep curl – do you count up, or do you count down? Share your answer in the poll below:

I tend to count up, but I hadn’t really given it much thought. Counting is counting, right? Wrong.

Turns out, counting up could have some substantial psychological benefits. Some research has been done on the subject, and it seems that counting down is anti-climactic, while counting up builds a sense of accomplishment in some exercisers. Moreover, counting up makes you more likely to go for that extra repetition.

Let’s go back to the bicep curls. Say your goal is to do six repetitions. If you count down, you’ll stop at 1. It’s the end of the set, and you’re probably not going to continue counting into the negative numbers (…0, -1, -2). But if you’re counting up, it’s more intuitive to build on your success and go for that seventh or even eighth rep.

What do you think? Is this theory enough to get you to switch? Or is it a crock? Let me know in the comments.

About Davey Wavey

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Comments

  1. I never count down because I get confused when I reach 1. Should I be counting to 0?

  2. I always do three sets and count up not only in my reps but sets. My second set 2,2,3,4, etc. I have a little
    OCD and like to count nearly everything as I do it. Drives me nuts.

  3. i always count up, doesn’t everyone? lol

  4. its only natural to count up, i havent known anyone to count down

  5. Good point! But let me not become a counting machine when doing exercises, it’s more important to focus on the exercise itself rather than just counting!

    • Rick From NCDavey,It is a miracle that a human being with your stikirng physical appearance to the world wide web has so few negative encounters with folks that go through their day so sadly. It is a testament that living your life open and positive to others is the way to go keep on your path. And by the way, a faggot is a bundle of sticks.Peace, Rick In NC

  6. I always count up because then if I reach my max and I still feel like I can do another, I do. The only problem I have with counting up if that when I’m doing endurance for swimming, sometimes I lose track but my gym buddy helps me out, haha.

  7. Bridget Marie says:

    Actually, counting down did a LOT for me when I was first starting out trying to get healthy and less sedentary (but keep in mind I was 17 at the time), and I’ve found it also helps friends I’ve arsed into getting off the couch and into shape as well. So counting down can be useful as a motivator at first (see, it’s not that bad, only 3, now 2, now 1, holy shit look at you, you did it!) but Davey’s right as well, on the day we switch to counting up almost every single one of the 6 people I’ve gotten working with me has gone for the extra rep. So the switch as well, could be a good tool to have on your belt.

  8. I think it’s true, tried it myself and some muscled dude in school (a few years ago…) told me. I believed him.

  9. My favorite trainer will often count with me but when he wants to get 5 more past my normal set he will count down. 1 up to 10 and then give me 5 more 5, 4 ,3 ,2, 1! It makes me feel like saying Happy New Year but motivationally it really helps.

  10. I actually want to count up. It really helps. The thing is I often miss the count & then i can’t focus on counting again. lol. Then instead of trying to count again I just lift till failure.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Count it out. When counting reps up from one, it’s more natural to push out one or two extra. On the other hand, some people push harder when it feels like a real countdown— […]

  2. […] Count it out. When counting reps up from one, it’s more natural to push out one or two extra. On the other hand, some people push harder when it feels like a real countdown— […]

  3. […] it out. When counting reps up from one, it’s more natural to push out one or two extra. On the other hand, some people push harder when it feels like a real […]

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