Gym Plans Explained

  • Gym terminology debunked

I appreciate that getting fit can be an alien concept and that there are lots of terms maybe unheard of.

If you read my recent blogs you’ll know that I hate gym myths that are perpetuated. So, how many repetitions should you be doing?

Ultimately it boils down to your goals and should be mixed up regularly to ensure maximum progression. This week’s blog I’ll look at sets.

A set is one complete segment of an exercise routine. Ultimately it is what punctuates your workout. Perform an exercise (a set), then rest and repeat. A set could be a number of repetitions or more complicated.

Doing a routine over and over not only gets boring but your body adapts quickly (even if that’s cardio)

So, in a simplistic sense, how many SETS should you be doing?

As a brief overview…

1 set: rarely would one set of an exercise be performed. The primary reason is that it doesn’t give you any intensity. The only scenario I could envisage one set would be in a circuit routine (where there would be multiple exercises). Alternatively, a ridiculously high repetition range routine, which if you read my blog on repetitions, you’ll know I don’t advocate.

2 sets: again extremely rare as it would be difficult to hit any kind of sustained muscle overload

3 sets: most likely as part of a beginners routine for grounding the basics. Enough of a chance to nail the basics and get some intensity.

4 sets: possibly the most common as part of a gym routine. Allows you to progress the weights and find an optimal resistance. Giving you enough chance to hit fatigue without compromising on technique.

5 sets: another common one. This allows for slightly more endurance and a greater strain on the muscles. Obviously a bit more time consuming but guaranteed to get better results.

6–8 sets: endurance. If your goal is building muscle fast then this will do it. Overload is a key principle in muscle gain and this ticks the box. In terms of time, you won’t get as much done in a session but what you do manage will leave the affected muscles with nothing more to give.

10 sets: German Volume Training. One for the hardcore. Ten sets of ten repetitions can be mentally gruelling but will get results faster. It’s not one I advocate for beginners or intermediate level fitness though. This takes sheer determination and commitment (which makes not every workout fun!)

Superset: two exercises performed back to back without rest between. This can be hitting the same muscle group or in the case of a Peripheral Heart Action workout, one upper body then one lower body to get the blood flowing.

Giant Set: usually three exercises back to back without rest (again repetitions can vary).

Any more than this would be considered a circuit workout.

As you can see, structured exercise with rest and a personalised design is the best way to get results.

The RYPT app gives you the personalisation of a training plan with the knowledge of a fully qualified personal trainer managing your exercise selection and updates.

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Ross Yeoman

Ross Yeoman

RYPT is about sustainability, moderation and enjoyment through health and wellbeing coaching. Personalised Online Fitness coaching. RYPT will get YOU results!