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Not all sets and reps are created equally

Here is how you can manipulate how you perform your sets and reps to improve your results for the same output


Breaking news - How you split up your total exercise reps makes a massive difference to your training results.


Probably not a big shock to any of oyu who coach, but it might be for those who are just gym goers.


Here is what I mean, in simple terms...


4 sets of 4 reps are not the same as 8 sets of 2 reps.


Number for number (total reps being 16) it is but training is much more than just numbers.


Manipulating the variables brings about a different response.


There is many a thing we can adjust for a change in stimulus - rest time, total reps, total sets, exercise selection, loading etc etc etc


In this case, we can alter the way we perform our total reps for the session.


So, let's use the example above.


Let's imagine I decided to use 8 sets of 2 reps as opposed to 4 sets of 4 reps, what would be the benefit?


  • Increase in average speed across total sets

  • Reduction in fatigue

  • Increase in quality of movement

  • Increase in load for the same speed

It isn't rocket science to work out doing something twice before resting should improve overall quality when comparing doing it 4 times, in most cases.


Now you can see the benefits, you may already start to see where this would fit in to a program and where it would be appropriate.


In actual fact, it can be used in most phases.


I tend towards using this in a more power-based block, where speed of movement is a primary goal.


You can see that adjusting sets and rep schemes will allow you to improve qualities that lead to power eg Force and Velocity.


But let's say you was in strength block with the aim of increasing maximal force production, a higher load would be able to be achieved, with less fatigue and injury risk, by completing 8 x 2.


These are just a couple of ways you might look to tweak programs to increase the effectiveness and quality of results.


So, remember, always think about what you are looking to achieve and select the best practice off of that.


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