Health Education

Training Variables: Reps, Sets, and Resistance

By March 19, 2018 No Comments

Our bodies are under a constant fight against gravity.  Maintaining strong muscles, bones, and joints requires action.  Challenging our structural system with load in the form of bodyweight and strength training exercises has tremendous health benefits.  Learn to manipulate how much weight you use and how many reps you do to maximize benefit.

Strength training is relative to the individual.  Our bodies will respond to different types, and amounts, of stimulus in different ways.  It’s important to always consider the relationship between mobility and strength.  Bodyweight training will provide a great foundation.  Make sure you can support your body in various lunge, reach, squat, balance, and plank exercises.  Try to achieve full range of motion with your bodyweight, as it will make any further resistance training more effective.

There are a lot of options for resistance training.  Dumbbells, kettlebells, tubing or cables can easily get the job done at home.  Gym’s offer plenty of classes, equipment, and personal training.  Seated equipment is the most isolated, generally targeting specific muscle groups.  If you are able to, choose standing strength exercises that challenge the hips, trunk, and core whenever you can.  Strength training exercises shouldn’t look fancy or crazy.  Fads in the industry can distract from the simple foundational moves.  Seek to learn a simple routine and how to manipulate it.

How much weight you use for an exercise depends on how many times you want to move it.  Repetitions are the number of times you complete an exercise in a given set.  You can complete single or multiple sets depending on what your game plan is.  An evolving, and healthy, personal routine will make adjustments to resistance used, reps, and sets for their weekly workouts.  Don’t get stuck in the rut of three sets of ten with the same weight every time.  Use light weights and go for a lot of reps.  Try to push yourself with heavier weights that you can handle, but don’t do as many.  Here’s some thoughts to consider for Resistance, Reps, and Sets:

  • Anything is better than nothing!  If you’re just starting out or low on time, get one set of a few simple exercises.
  • Always get warmed up with dynamic bodyweight exercises.
  • Before lifting heavier weights, get warmed up with some light weights or medicine ball.  Communicate with your nervous system about what to expect.
  • As you increase weight for exercises, it will challenge the strength and flexibility of your supporting core muscles.  Make sure you choose weights you can handle.
  • If it doesn’t feel good…DON’T DO IT.  Find another exercise or a different body part.  There’s always another day.
  • Consider how much time you give yourself between sets.  If you’re comfortable with the weights you are using, limit your rest and challenge yourself.  If you are exploring heavier weights, give yourself a little extra time.
  • There is no magic recipe that works for everyone.  Pay attention to how you feel and what your body responds best to.  Use these variables to sculpt your choices.  Good luck!
Sean Fitzpatrick

Author Sean Fitzpatrick

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