Training 101: The Answers to Most-Asked Questions About Lifting
What's the difference between a repetition and a set?
Simple: If someone tells you to do 10 push-ups, they're telling you to do 10 repetitions of the push-up. If you go ahead and do the 10 push-ups, it means you will have done one set of 10 repetitions. If you rest a minute and do another 10 repetitions, you will have done two sets of the push-up.
How many repetitions should I do?
When it comes to your workout, this is always the first question you should ask. Why? Because it forces you to decide what your main goal is. For instance, do you want lose fat faster or build more muscle? The answer will determine the number of reps you do. Just make your choice, then use the guidelines that follow to find the rep range you need.
If you want to lose fat faster:
This one's easy: All the top trainers I know have found that doing 8 to 15 repetitions works the best for fat loss. And perhaps it's no wonder, since research shows that performing sets in that same range stimulates the greatest increase in fat-burning hormones, compared with doing a greater or fewer number of repetitions. Of course, 8 to 15 reps is a fairly broad recommendation. So you'll need to break it down further. A good approach: Use three smaller rep ranges to vary your workouts while staying between 8 to 15 repetitions. Examples:
- 12 to 15 reps
- 10 to 12 reps
- 8 to 10 reps
What if you want to build more muscle?