Friday, April 13, 2007

Advanced Workout - Sets & Reps

After you have figured out your form and become more than a beginner, it�s time to re-vamp your routine. The number of sets and repetitions (reps) may be considered more important than the exercises being performed. In the avenue of bodybuilding there is a variety of routines that can be effective. Effectiveness of a routine usually lies in the ability of your workout to put as much strain on a muscle without over working it. This is done much easier when keeping most of the factors in a workout constant and only making one change. This leads to the explanation on how to choose the number of sets and reps to do and how it affects your muscles.

The goal of bodybuilding is to increase size and mass of a muscle. This means every set is going to be to what is called muscle failure (except the warm up). Muscle failure being the point at which you can�t move the weight anymore. Having a spotter is essential for this type of workout. For the most part the reps are going to stay consistent, meaning the variable is the number of sets. The ideal number of times your muscle needs to go to failure per exercise is four. Meaning four sets per exercise. For the purpose of this article it�s assumed that there is a proper warm up and stretching before the first four sets.

The next step is to determine the number of reps per set. Each set will be to failure so technically you don�t need a number of reps to do because you are going to push the weight until you can�t anymore. This means the proper amount of weight is more important. Rather than trying to complete a certain number of reps, use an amount t of weight to hit a target range of reps. The first set�s range is 10-12. This means you want to stack enough a weight so that your muscles need to stop at 10 or 11 reps. If you can do 12 that�s ok. If you can do more than 12 you need to increase the weight. If you can�t do 10, you need to decrease the weight. The second set�s range is 8-10. The third and fourth set�s range is 6-8.

The only factor left is the number of sets to do per exercise. You want to do between 12 and 20 sets per muscle. This is 3-5 exercises per muscle. In all honestly doing less than 4 exercises (16 sets) will be significantly less effective. At first glance it looks like 3 muscles would be 60 sets, which would take hours. Remember though some exercises use more than one muscle. For example 4 sets of chest press would go toward your chest sets and your triceps sets. You still want to isolate muscles when possibly. This helps track muscles so you don�t overwork them. Certain muscles can be worked as secondary muscles and primary muscles on different days. For example the biceps have a fast recovery. A lot of back exercises involve the biceps. You can work back on one day and then isolate biceps on the next day and that muscle should be able to take the extra strain.

Learn your muscles to find out the right range for you. Find your body type and work with it to build massive lean muscle. Use the range suggestions for sets to fit a number of sets to each of your muscles. Because of the way your muscles are used in your body, you shouldn�t need to change the number of reps or sets you do unless your goals change. For the most part once your body adjusts to your new workout you will only need to change the actually exercises you do. This will work the muscles from different angles activating dormant muscle fiber, while still pushing them to failure so that you can gain the maximum amount of muscle.

Tom Bishop - Founder and Co-Operator of Nutrition Edge Online; A site made by bodybuilders for bodybuilders.

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