What’s in a Rep

April 18th, 2011 by Lou Leave a reply »

A “rep” is short for repetiton; reps then is plural. Any number of reps done in a continuous fashion, (no rest in between), constitutes a “set” Now HOW those reps are done can be a thing of beauty!

You can go really fast, which can be harmful to connective tissue if not doe with care; super slow (ten seconds up, 10 seconds down) which is tedious and painful but eliminates acceleration and deceleration, (a layman might refer to this as “momentum”) Or at a regular speed; one up, two down.

As I like to remind; consider your goals and objectives. A powerlifter may have very little to no use for low weights, high reps. A runway model may find lifting heavy weight, say four to six reps, might be detrimental to her career.  If general fitness is your aim, incorporating different rep styles will not only keep you motivated but keep your body from becoming stagnate.

Also your legs can withstand much more of a workload than your upper body. So go for a higher rep count, say twenty five…minimum. I’ve had female clients do 100 plus reps in a single set!! Yes it’s brutal, it works…but it’s not for everyone.

Part of my philosophy is variety. When it comes to exercise our bodies adapt fairly quickly. Changing our rep scheme will keep our bodies off balance; guessing as to what we will do next. Hence it does not have a chance to fully get comfortable which will eventually lead to stagnation. Should this occur, the best one can do is take one to two weeks off then begin anew.

Final point; whenever you change your workout, let the new regimen work for you. Give your body a chance to get positive results before changing it again. How long should one wait before each change has been debated. I find one to three months best. Why the big gap? Because sometimes there are exercises the body can tolerate better or longer than others. A shorter time frame might be good for explosive-type exercises such as plyometrics. A longer time frame might work best for exercise programs in the 65% to 75%  of  your max workloads.

However when you put together routines, always keep in mind goals, objectives and possibly any physical limitations you may have. Exercising should have elements of enjoyment as well as satisfaction knowing it’s doing you good…and it should be done pain free.


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