Monday, May 25, 2009


How many reps was that?
Do you ever wonder how many repetitions of a movement you should be doing? Well, that is not a one-size-fits-all question, and even among experts there is some disagreement on the exact number of repetitions (or 'reps') to produce certain results. Let's look into the basics and use that as a starting point:Low Reps - generally considered to be in the range of 2-6, low reps are best employed by advanced exercisers and strength atheletes, and are used to create the highest amount of muscular strength possible by overloading muscle fibers to a great degree. By using very heavy weights for a lower number of repetitions, one can force muscles to become stronger and apply progressively more force.Medium Reps - For lack of a better term, "medium reps" lie in the middle ground of low and high, generally considered to be about 8-12. This range of repetitions tends to be the best bet for the general public whose goals are increased strength, endurance and body fat loss, and to keep up with general fitness. By lifting weights with which one can perform repetitions in this range, exercisers can expect to add both muscular strength and endurance, while also not taxing the body quite so much as with very heavy sets as described above.High Reps - In general, anything over 15 or so repetitions would be considered a high-rep set. These higher repetitions do not add much muscular strength per se, but will help to improve muscular endurance, and increase blood flow to the working muscle very well. They are often used by strength athletes such as bodybuilders and powerlifters as warm-ups to get blood flowing to a specific muscle, and also at the end of a workout to flush fresh blood into a muscle group, and thus providing more fresh nutrients to the tissue and dispersing lactic acid. High reps are also considered to be best for adding definition to an already established muscle. They are also very useful for rehabilitation purposes as one can safely apply the overload principle without causing a great deal of muscular strain to an injured body part.Having read all that, you might think that you should just not bother with high or low reps, but instead reap the benefits of the middle ground and do nothing but sets 8-12. However, certain muscle fiber types, and certain body parts will not respond to just one kind of stimulus, but will need a variety in repetition schemes to make continued progression in their fitness levels. The best way to understand and apply all of this is to work out with an experienced and knowledgable trainer, who can answer your questions, and tailor your workouts to your specifc needs, as not all of the neccessary information can be provided in one short blog!Thank you for reading,Steve Decker

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