When I first started strength training improvement came quickly, but soon it trickled to a halt. I figured I was a slow gainer stuck on a plateau that I just had to push through. For five straight months I worked every other day with a trainer to make sure that I did not cheat on my form. I never missed one training session, and pretty soon I stopped improving no matter how hard I tried. My reps stayed the same every workout. Twice during that period I managed to get nine reps instead of my usual eight on the bicep curls. I likened that ninth rep to a religious experience – beyond the realm of normal.