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Health and Wellbeing

09 Jul 2015

Repetitions

How many should I be performing when doing weights or resistance training?

This is a very common question I am asked and it is often one poorly answered (in my opinion) by many personal trainers, online programs or gyms offering generic advice.

Granted that there are “textbook” answers to different repetition ranges for specific goals such as 1-6 reps for strength, 8-12 for muscular hypertrophy and 12-15/20 for general muscular conditioning (often termed “toning”).

But, in reality for the majority of the population, this is all very relative to the weights or resistance training experience you have. How long are you resting for in-between sets? Are you performing drop-sets or supersets? Are you circuit training or moving from one muscle group to another in quick succession?

The key ingredient that is often lacking is that one must have a general guideline of a repetition range to strive for but the focus must simply be on 100 per cent perfect technique and execution of the movement.

What I mean by this is that I may know my client’s previous best weight when performing the lat pull-down was 35kgs and that he could manage around about 12 repetitions.

Our aim is to use the same weight but then set off performing the absolute best technique that he is capable of whilst I ensure this remains the same all the way through towards 12 and, if he is capable of doing 14 reps perfectly, why would I stop him at 12 because his range and goal suggests 8-12 reps?

If you were very capable of counting to 100, would I continually ask you to count up to only 20? Why would I when you are capable of so much more? How bored would you get and would there be any challenge for you?

The same could be said for when doing your weights or gym-related exercises. If you are capable of more repetitions than the number your PT sets you or that your program says to do, push it and go the maximum number you can perform BUT (and herein lies the key!) any repetitions must be performed to the best of your ability and with close to 100 per cent control, form and technique.

If it is not, then you are either recruiting the wrong musculature and, therefore, being ineffective, potentially setting yourself up for injury or fast-tracking yourself towards poor posture and/or muscular imbalances.

Do not just do numbers for the sake of it because a program card tells you to or a whiteboard in your boot camp class says it wants you to.

Justin Moran

Just In Time Personal Training

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