Sets and reps are the foundation of all weight training programs.
The world of sets and reps can be a wild a woolly place, and handing it correctly is crucial. To be clear: a rep is an exercise performed once. A set is a sequential number of reps performed with a few seconds of rest between reps. Rest periods between sets are usually 30 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on the program.
If you correctly use sets and reps, you will achieve your training goal. We have put together a list of goals and the training that will take you to each one.
Goal: General Fitness
In this stage, you are building a solid foundation, so strength and muscle-building are both important. Do not lift too heavy or too light – just do enough to give your muscles a solid workout. The good zone for this training is 15 reps for 2 to 4 sets over 8-12 different exercises.
If you’re after this goal, you are pursuing strength and not body building or shaping. Generally, it requires a lower number of reps and higher loads. For example, strength trainers will use a 5×5 system (5 sets of 5 reps). Longer rest between sets is required.
In this training, sometimes called “training to failure”, you work your muscles until they suffer internal damage. Rest and food allow your muscles to repair themselves and therefore grow in size. You will need a higher number of reps, such as 3 sets of 12 exercises at loads that push you to the failure point on the last few reps.
If you’re training for power, you’re training for move objects at higher speed. Therefore, you practice the acceleration part of the lift, rest, and do it again. Use moderately heavy weights, push yourself hard in the first movement of the lift, then rest.
In this training, you will do more reps in each set, all the way up to 20 or 30, depending on how light your weights are. This can be a waste of time if you already are going through similar motions in your daily life, so make sure you are clear on your goals.
At Crossfit 2 Serve, we enrich these types of training by using our strength to help our community. Knowledge is power, so the more you know, the better you can help others! Get to it!