I'm a huge fan of strength training with a buddy, and recently at the gym, I've been hearing a lot about forced repetitions where your weight lifting partner does more than just spot you. If you're not familiar with this term, allow me to explain. If a woman is lifting weights and she has reached her limit and can't do another repetition on her own, someone will assist her with one or more repetitions. These are called forced repetitions. The reason people who strength train do this is because they think this extra bit of effort will help their muscles become stronger.
To find out if forced repetitions are beneficial when it comes to strength training
Unfortunately, forced repetitions aren't making you stronger. I'll explain why. Say you are doing chest presses with a barbell that has 20 pounds of weight. If you get help to do a couple more presses, you're not lifting the full 20 pounds that you were when you were doing the exercise on your own. So in actuality, you're lifting less weight and not working your muscles as hard. Not only that but your muscles are fatigued and forcing them to keep repeating the move could result in a torn muscle. Need scientific proof? In a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, researchers examined 22 male athletes who did forced repetitions while weight lifting over a six-week period and found no benefit. So there you have it.
Fit's Tips: If you're looking to tone up and become stronger, a better strategy would be to gradually increase the amount of weight you can lift on your own.