Two weeks before the first pageant of the season, I switch my system:
Lower reps and triple the reps.
This takes the muscle I gained all year and tones it to the shape I want. Rather than keep gaining mass, I am now going to cut the size and increase the definition. The high reps shocks the muscle, which may have begun to plateau from the higher weights.
I generally cut the weights by either half or one third, depending on the increments. I then perform 3 or 4 sets of 30. It is very time consuming, but I am also able to cut back on some machines. Rather than do all 6 machines, I will do 3-4 one day, and 3-4 the next. I focus on the machines which target multiple muscle groups, to save time and maximize the results. There is nothing wrong with killing two birds with one stone.
I generally can get through the first two sets pretty simply. It may begin to burn by the 25th rep, but calms down when I stop. I aim to have intense burning on the 3rd set. If I don’t I add a 4th. I can tell it is working by the pain I feel. I have learned to read my body, and understand when the muscles are working their hardest. You do not want to leave the gym without feeling full muscle satisfaction.