When it comes to a workout, something that I mention a lot, is reps and sets. I often get questioned about these two and what they mean, so today, I’m here to talk some fitness lingo; REPS vs SETS.
Reps and sets provide structure and organization for your workout. Working together, they create how you will perform your workout.
Here’s the breakdown:
Rep(s) is a short form for repetition(s).
Repetition is the actual lifting and lowering of a weight.
EX:// You’re doing dumbbell front squats. Each time you bend down, and squat, counts as one repetition.
Set(s) is the number of consecutive reps you complete without resting, and also refers to how many different times you complete the reps.
EX:// Complete 3 reps of dumbbell front squats, for a total of 5 sets, resting 30 seconds in between sets.
Why change your reps?
Generally if someone is looking to tone muscle and/or endurance train, focusing on a high rep range (normally 15 – 25+) with a lighter weight is the best way to obtain these specific goals.
If someone was looking to increase muscle mass (aka; build big muscle) training in a low rep range (8 – 12 reps), with a medium to heavy weight is the best way to obtain this specific goal.
If strength is the ultimate goal, training in a rep range of 3 – 8 reps, with a heavy weight is your answer.
Rest between sets is important too!
Since you’re focusing on a specific number of reps and sets, rest needs to be decided to. Depending on the type of workout you are doing, you can add in the right amount of rest time with your reps and sets.
There are many different ways to rest while you exercise, but depending on your goals, you may or may not be resting properly. For example, if someone was looking to increase strength, the training focus should be in a low rep range, with very heavy weight. This would suggest a rest of anywhere between 90 seconds to 3 minutes.
Training in a high rep range, with lower weight should avoid long rest periods. If you’re training more than 15 reps, aim to rest no longer than 30 seconds, or not at all when circuiting or performing super/tri sets. (That’s a whole new post!)
When training to build muscle (8 – 12 reps) rest should be anywhere between 30 seconds to 90 seconds.
All of this depends on weight being lifted, current strength, and fitness goals. For example, if someone wanted to lose body fat and tone muscle, long rest periods and light weight should be avoided.
How to determine sets
Generally, sets should always be determined by the current fitness level for each individual. For example, if someone was working out for the first time, fewer sets with higher reps would be suggested until the body obtains a proportionate building block in order to increase lean muscle.
If someone was training for more than 8 months to a year, then sets can be increased as the muscles have had time to develop and understand the stress that is being caused through exercise.
When I workout, I normally shoot for 4 or 5 sets, but 3 seems to be the magic number for most. 🙂
[Tweet “Tips on how to use the RIGHT rep range for YOUR results! via @karen_lushious”]
Not only about ‘dem weights
Reps and sets can also be used to describe a bodyweight workout, it’s not only for weight training.
Ex:// Complete ab crunches and push ups for a total of 10 sets, with 15 reps each and 60 seconds rest in between each set.
The above workout uses the rep and set theory, without having to use a single weight.
There are many different ways to incorporate reps and sets into your workouts, but ultimately they are a strong foundation to create and build incredible results!