• Telegraph feature: How many reps should we do?

    By The W10 Team
     

    Confused about how much you should be lifting in the gym and how many times?

    Most of us would agree that resistance training is an integral part of any fitness programme. What might be more open to discussion however is how we approach it.

    The amount of reps that we perform will determine the workload we put on the body, and the subsequent changes that we can expect to see. In simple terms, the heavier the weight, the greater the potential for strength, and the more reps that we do, the more potential for muscular endurance and muscle building. There is of course crossover between the two - add to that the fact that we all respond differently to the same approach, and certain exercises lend themselves better to certain rep ranges - but the two rules generally hold true.

    When it comes to working out exactly how many reps we should be doing it isn't as simple as "15 reps is good for toning" or "heavy weights bulk you up" - neither of which is always true by the way - and it is almost impossible to talk with absolute certainty. The best approach, and ultimately the outcome, will come down to individual factors such as our genetic make up, our training age and training history, our nutritional approach, the quality of our sleep, the intensity with which we exercise and our ability to engage our muscles during certain exercises, amongst other things - which is not the same for any of us.

    However, if you take away the maths of total time a muscle is under tension and the inverse relationship between reps and sets, there is one simple outline to remember when counting your reps in the gym if you want better results:

    The 1 to 5 rep range: This is where we can expect to get the most relative strength gains, without building too much muscle. Workouts in this range tend to have longer rest periods between sets and less overall training volume. This range is more suited to advanced gym-goers and most of the adaptations here are neural.

    The 5 to 8 rep range: Where we develop what is known as functional hypertrophy, i.e. where we gain equal amounts of strength and muscle. The weights used in this range will be relatively lighter than at 1 to 5 reps, but we can still expect to gain some strength, whilst the increased reps (volume) will allow us to build some muscle also.

    The 8 to 12 rep range: The traditional muscle building range. This is where the weights are still moderately heavy, but the increased reps or volume will cause more muscle damage, which promotes greater need for repair and subsequent muscle building. This is also a very useful starting point for a lot people who are new to exercise.

    The 12 to 20 rep range: Where we develop strength endurance above all, but a range that's also very effective for muscle building. We might go beyond 20 reps if we are looking at specific rehab requirements or more advanced muscle-building strategies, but it is unlikely that most of us need to go any higher.

    The reality is that there is overlap between each rep scheme. However, beginners however will gain significant amounts of strength when performing 8 to 12 repetitions for example, and have absolutely no need to train in lower repetitions initially for good results. In fact, most beginners will get what they need in the first few weeks in the 8 to 20 reps ranges. Advanced gym-goers on the other hand might need to lift at the heavier end of the weight scale to force the body to adapt if they want results, especially if it is strength gains they are after.

    The key to remember however is to keep switching up rep schemes. Any programme and rep scheme will work for a short period of time, but too many of us do the same thing for too long; we would all benefit from a period of strength training with heavier weights for example, coming back to our preferred 8 to 12, or 12 to 15 rep ranges, as after a few weeks developing strength we get better results from our relatively lighter weights and higher reps. My trick is to cycle the rep schemes and keep the body guessing.

    Contact us on 0203 489 5428 or drop us an email on info@w10performance.com to find out more about training at W10 Performance.

    Read the article in The Telegraph

 

You Might Also Like

 
Quick Browse
    • 5 essential fitness rules

      Fitness Truths: 5 essential fitness rules

       

      There are more systems, methods and approaches when it comes to exercise than ever before, all promoting different slants on the best and most efficient way to get in shape. Especially with summer on our doorstep, it's hard not to get distracted by the latest fitness "trends" in the media. But how different are all

      Read More
    • How often should you train for best results?

       

      Everyone wants the answer to the age old question: How often should I train to get results? The honest answer (as with most things) is: it depends. The key to the question is better answered from the standpoint of how well you can recover. There's a lot of talk about over training (exceeding the physical

      Read More
    • 5 best ab exercises

      The 5 Best Ab Exercises You Can Do

       

      These five ab movements are more effective than any crunch or sit up. And so it begins… Summer is around the corner and we’re already starting to see articles and ads for 7 day ab transformations. "Do a 100 sit ups or ab crunches a day and you’ll start to see a rippling 6 pack."

      Read More
    • best exercises to reduce lower back pain

      5 of the best exercises for lower back pain

       

      How frequently do you experience lower back pain? We live in a world where a large percentage of people spend most of their time sitting down. Whether that be on the way to work, during work, coming home from work and watching TV or doing work at home, it’s no wonder our bodies are breaking

      Read More
    • Holiday workout ideas

      Simple and effective holiday workout ideas

       

      Easter Holiday Workouts One of the questions we've always been asked over the years is “I’m going on holiday, there isn’t a gym, what should I do?” The good news is that nature has blessed us all with an amazing tool called “our body” and it can be used to great effect with simple movements...

      Read More
    • Fitness fads 4 things consider

      4 Tips To Develop A Health And Fitness B.S Filter

       

      Fitness can sometimes be overwhelming. New trends pop up every single week... Should you choose spinning? Yoga? Do intermittent fasting? Go low carb? Go vegan? We all seem to get shiny object syndrome when we hear about these things, especially if whoever we hear them from got good short-term results. Here are a few things

      Read More

Start Your 30 Day Trial Today

If you’re ready to make a change, you can start now. Register online and book your first session today.

Start Today

Set up in 2009 by founder Jean-Claude Vacassin (a regular health and fitness contributor to the Daily Telegraph) the W10 Performance gym is located in West London at 202-208 Kensal Road, London W10 5BN. W10’s Gym memberships offer personal training, nutrition advice, yoga, boxing, HITT and other functional fitness classes. They also have physio and sports massage practitioners onsite. They are proud to offer a high level of fitness to residents and local workers in Kensal Rise, Kensal Green, Queens Park, Willesden, Kilburn, Harlesden, Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill, Kensington and Westbourne Park areas.

 

Find us The Basement, 202-208 Kensal Road, London W10 5BN

Call us on 020 3489 5428