Are You Using the Appropriate Rep Schemes?

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Are You Using The Appropriate Rep Scheme?

In this post I will be addressing proper repetition and set ranges specific to your goals. If you are constantly doing 3 sets of 10 or 4 sets of 12 for each exercise, you are missing out on some serious gains. Rep schemes should not be linear. It is important to use a variety of rep schemes throughout your workout to maximize your fitness goals. I will break it down into 5 categories. Stabilization, muscle endurance, power, strength, and hypertrophy. Stabilization is a critical component in building a solid foundation for fitness. Stabilization focuses on strengthening the ligaments and tendons that support your joints as well as training your CNS (central nervous system) to activate the correct muscles at the correct time. Due to the high demand on your CNS, it is best to keep your sets in the 1-3 range and your repetitions in the 6-12 range. Some example of this include 3×6, 2×12, or 4×5.

Muscle endurance is the muscles ability to work under tension for a prolonged period of time. This should be a high priority when training for any functional fitness goal. The key is to keep your repetitions high and your rest periods low. The less time between sets, the better you can effectively train your muscles to recover quickly. Some examples of rep schemes for muscle endurance include 2×25, 3×20, and 4×15 with rest periods in the 20-60 second range. Power is your body’s ability to produce maximal force output in the shortest time possible. This includes your plyometric training and can also be utilized in strength training by pushing or pulling weight with maximal force. I would recommend keeping the weight in to 50-80% range of your 1RM (1 rep max). Due to the high demand on your CNS you should keep repetitions in the 2-5 range. Some examples include 3×2, 5×2, and 4×3.Strength is the ability of the neuromuscular system to overcome maximal resistance.

The best way to increase strength is through percentage based lifting. This means you need to determine your 1 rep max (1RM) for the specific lift you are performing. You will then train a specific percentage of that lift in an appropriate rep scheme. I recommend training 70-90% of your 1RM and increasing the percentage every week for 4-6 weeks. Repetitions should be kept in the 3-6 range with sets ranging from 3-7. Some of favorite rep schemes for strength training include 4×6, 5×5, and 7×3.

Finally, we have hypertrophy. Hypertrophy is the overall size of skeletal muscles thus to train hypertrophy simply means you are training to make your muscles grow. This will not necessarily translate to strength, power, and/or function. Rep ranges for hypertrophy are best kept in the 8-15 range with sets ranging from 2-4. You should choose a weight that allows you to complete all reps with the last 2-3 reps bringing you to or near failure. Reaching failure has not been proven to add any additional benefit as coming with 1-2 reps of failure. Drop sets however, have been shown to increase hypertrophy when used appropriately. Some of the most common rep schemes for hypertrophy include 3×10, 4×12, and 3×15.

In conclusion, choosing the correct rep scheme for your goal will make a huge impact in the effectiveness of your training. You should train multiple disciplines in a single work out so long as you are using them in correct order. An example of this would be to train power and/or strength at the beginning of your workout since it places a higher demand on your CNS. A good workout program should compliment your lifestyle and be tailored to your abilities. Be sure to train smart, train hard, and as always, NO EXCUSES!

About Hunter Ortuno

As a career firefighter, I know the importance of maintaining a high level of physical fitness. I demonstrate this both in my job and in my lifestyle. Fitness has been a passion of mine for over a decade which is why I also decided to become a personal trainer. Once I started working 1-on-1 with clients in a gym, I became addicted to watching them get results and reach their goals.

My mission is to provide athletes with all of the tools necessary to reach their fitness goals. I do this by creating fitness programs designed to help you reach your full athletic potential.

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This post was used with the permission of Ortuno Tactical Fitness and the original article can be found at:

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