We’ve all either heard or seen the famous phrase, “Last Set, Best Set” in our gym. The obvious meaning to this being that it is your last set, so make it your best set. You’re exhausted, hot, sweaty, and losing focus, but it’s your last set. You have to push through it and make every single rep count!
“Last set, Best set” has a little bit of a different meaning for me. It reminds me of my beginning years of working out. It was the summer of 2008; I had just finished my freshman year of high school. I was weighing in at a whopping 84lbs. My goal was to weigh 105lbs by the start of the wrestling season so that I could actually wrestle at the weight class 103lbs and hold my own on the varsity level.
For this entire summer, I would run in the morning to keep my cardio up. Around 3:30pm when my dad would get home from work, it was time to start the work out. I would be stretched out and ready to go. We had a random collection of dumbbells ranging from 2lbs up to 30lbs, a straight bar with about 200lbs of weight, and a SoloFlex. For those of you who don’t know what a SoloFlex is, I like to think of it as a 1980’s version of BowFlex…. but way worse. Anyways, it worked for us.
Now, in case it slipped your mind, it’s the middle of the summer and we are working out in the scorching heat in this furnace like area of a place my dad likes to call his “garage.” If the workout wasn’t already hard enough, the heat definitely made it 100 times harder.
As we would go through the exercises for the day my dad would always say - and I mean always - “Here we go! Last set, best set!” Every time I heard that, I could not help but grunt, roll my eyes, and mutter something under my breath that he couldn’t hear...at least I thought he couldn’t hear but somehow he always knew what I said! Which as you could believe, lead to some interesting unplanned extra sets and reps in the work out.
Of course at the time, I didn’t appreciate my dad throwing in extra reps or sets when I complained but looking back at it, I appreciate it. It really is humbling to know that I had someone who sat in a 100+ degree garage day in and day out, spotted my every rep, cheered me on through those grinding sets, and always made me a big protein shake at the end.
Whether it’s in or out of the gym, make every single set count. Treat everything you do in life like it’s a last set, because let’s face it, that’s your best set!