New to the gym? Or an old hand trying to understand why results are not showing up in spite of following the workouts perfectly? You may be doing the exercise right, but not at the right volume. You probably have been enlightened that sets are for increasing the bulk, whereas reps are for shredding. This statement is partly right. When you increase the number of sets with increasing weights, you are telling your muscles to do something beyond their existing capacity. So the muscles get stretched and torn, and respond by forming more muscle cells, thereby leading to the muscle bulk. Whereas, in repetitions, you are making the same muscles work longer in an effort to increase their capacity to last longer, increasing their ability to withstand pain and endurance. Either way is beneficial, but what really matters is – what you really want!
If you are really looking forward to maximizing your output from a gym workout, you must create the perfect blend of the two to get optimum results. Here are four best ideas to get the best from both reps and sets.
Get the Best out of Reps and Sets
Get your priorities clear
Most gym-goers are not clear about what they want. They hop into a gym, trying to shop around with the weights and attempt to copy what some of their gym buddies are doing. Suddenly, they will move into weight training to add bulk to their body and switch after a week to reducing it. If you are someone doing that, then remember that you are confusing your body and making it unproductive. So, the first step lies in identifying what exactly you want. Is it muscle gain, weight loss, fat loss, general fitness, agility, endurance, or strength? Are you planning to become a fitness model? Whatever it is, if you don’t know what you want, you are soon going to find yourself back where you started. The moral of the story is to start with a specific goal in mind.
Conditioning for all workouts
You can leverage both sets and reps here. What really matters is how well you plan. Here is a sample plan that you can follow:
- Start with regular warm up and jump rope exercises
- Free squats- 20 reps each for 5 sets
- Push-ups- 20 reps each for 5 sets
- Jumping jacks- 20 reps each for 5 sets
- Burpees- 20 reps each for 5 sets
The aforementioned exercises form the basis of conditioning your body for a better workout, in addition to fat loss and increased stamina. However active you are, never miss a good warm-up.
Moving on to weight training, find out what is the weight that you can lift comfortably for 8 to 10 reps. Then lift the same weights for only 5 to 6 reps. This will help strengthen your muscles, while not increasing their bulk. Even for spot training, you can use this technique.Your workout schedule will be like this:
- Bench press with 10 kg, 5 reps for 5 sets
- Shoulder press with 15 kg, 5 reps for 5 sets
- For increasing muscle mass, you have to progressively increase the weights and decrease the number of reps:
- Bench press:
- Set 1: with 10 kg, 25 reps
- Set 2: with 15 kg, 20 reps
- Set 3: with 20 kg, 15 reps
- Set 4: with 25 kg, 10 reps
- Set 5: with 30 kg, 5 reps
For compound exercises
The best exercises to lose fat, tone your body, improve strength, performance, and endurance is compound exercises. You can leverage the best out of both sets and reps here.
Before that, you need to understand what compound exercises are. These exercises act on the whole body and on multiple joints. Some of the most common compound exercises are;
- Back squats
- Front squats
- Overhead squats
- Dead lifts
- Power clean
Your workout schedule will be like this; for the first five days:
- Back squat with 10 kg, 5 reps for 5 sets
- Front squat with 10 kg, 5 reps for 5 sets
- Overhead squat with 10 kg, 5 reps for 5 sets
- Dead lift with 10 kg, 5 reps for 5 sets
- Power clean with 10 kg, 5 reps for 5 sets
After a day’s rest, you can upgrade the workouts by increasing the weight, without increasing the number of reps. For the next five days your schedule should be:
- Back squat with 15 kg, 5 reps for 5 sets
- Front squat with 15 kg, 5 reps for 5 sets
- Overhead squats with 15 kg, 5 reps for 5 sets
- Dead lifts with 15 kg, 5 reps for 5 sets
- Power clean with 15 kg, 5 reps for 5 sets
This way you can combine the best from both sets and reps.
Whichever program you choose, always consult your physical trainer for a better understanding of the program. Also, consult your physician before beginning a workout program.