Sets & Reps
Sets x Reps
Reps are short for repetitions and are the action of one complete movement, for example, 1 rep of squats means you perform 1 squat. 12 reps of squats mean you perform 12 squats.
Sets are how many times you repeat the given amount of reps and are divided by rest periods or another exercise.
Squats 3 x 12 means:
Set 1: 12 squats
Set 2: 12 squats
Set 3: 12 squats
The rest period is the time spent resting between sets to allow the muscles to recover, so you can complete the following sets well.
Rest periods vary between 30 seconds - 2 minutes depending on the exercise and the training goal. It is important to time your rest between sets so you don’t rest for too short or too long.
A rest day is when a person takes a break from their regular workout routine. Rest days are important for any workout program as they give the body a chance to recover and come back strong -which prevents injuries. You should take a rest day at least once every 7-10 days.
Rest days don’t have to be sedentary. You can do less strenuous activities to keep the routine going, such as yoga and walking.
Warm-ups prior to the workout are essential and help prepare the body for the demands of the following exercises.
A warm-up may look like this:
5-10 minutes of dynamic mobility exercises
A cooldown refers to low-impact or slower exercises after a more intense workout. Cooldowns allow the body to gradually return to its normal state.
A cooldown may look like this:
5 minutes of various static stretches
Training tempo is defined as the pace at which a rep is performed. On paper, it’s written as a 4-digit code that may look like: 3110
Digit 1: represents the eccentric phase. It’s the opposite of the concentric where the muscles are working. In the eccentric phase, you follow the weight to where it wants to go. In a lat-pulldown that is up (the weight naturally wants to return to the high attachment of the cable) and in a squat that is down (the weight naturally wants to go down to the floor - being pulled by gravity)
Digit 2: represents the isometric pause at the end of the eccentric phase. In a lat-pulldown, this is when your arms are straight and above your head. In a squat, this is where you are in a deep squat position.
Digit 3: represents the concentric phase. This is where the real work is done. In a biceps curl, this is where you curl the arm in. In a squat, this is where you push the weight up. And in a lat-pulldown, this is where you pull the bar down to your chest.
Digit 4: represents the isometric pause at the end of the concentric and before the eccentric. In a biceps curl, this is where the arms are completely bent. In a squat, this is where you’re back to standing. And in a lat-pulldown, this is where the bar is at your chest.
3110 in a squat means 3 seconds to come into the squat, 1 second at the bottom of the squat, 1 second to come up from the squat, and 0 seconds at the top of the squat.
RIR - Reps In Reserve
Reps In Reserve (RIR) is how many reps you have left in the tank after completing a set, meaning: how many more reps you could do before you would reach failure on a set.
Modern research suggests that as long as you leave 4 reps in reserve or less, you will see adequate results in form of muscle-building.
Repeating workouts for weeks in a row before switching them up is beneficial for your results. Repeating the same exercises for 3-8 weeks means you are getting enough time to 1) get familiar with the exercises, 2) increase weights in the exercises, and 3) see results.
To then switch the exercises, reps, or sets after a few weeks is also important to 1) shock the body -so you don’t plateau, 2) hit the muscles from more angles, and 3) see results.
So it may seem repetitive, but that’s where the real magic comes in.
A deload is a short and planned period of recovery that typically lasts a week. During a deload you take training a bit lighter, workout less, and ease things back. We typically recommend a deload week after you’ve finished our 12 or 16-week programs.
The way we recommend you to deload is to reduce the weight you’re lifting. Going through the range of motion of your regular workout is beneficial so you can keep on nailing the form, but during the deload week, the point is *not* to push your limit.
Give your body time to recover so you can come back stronger for the next phase.
The purpose of warm-up sets is to perform a series of progressively heavier sets that will get pretty close to the actual working weight while using fewer reps to avoid fatigue. The heavier weight you’re working with, the more important warm-up sets are.
Below is an example of what 5 warm-up sets leading up to your actual working sets may look like.