If you haven’t already you will see the words sets and reps being used a lot if you’re in the gym or reading something related to fitness.
In this article I’ll break down what are reps and what are sets for working out, along with how they differ from one another.
So if you’ve ever seen this and didn’t have a clue what these terms mean then this article is written just for you.
Sets & Reps are the foundation for how we workout and how workout routines are created. If these were not in place then people would be just going into the gym and lifting till they felt like stopping or just using the clock to determine how long to lift.
Yes, you can go into the gym and just do your own thing and not worry about sets, reps or any workout routines in general but that’s only gonna get you so far. Eventually you will need to know these terms to get the most out of your workouts.
If you truly want to know how to gain muscle a solid workout routine is a must have and sets and reps are the inner blueprints for that routine.
What Does Repetitions Aka Reps Mean In Exercise?
Reps are how many times you’ve done a specific motion.
Let’s use push ups as an example.
When you do a push up and are counting how many push ups you do, you’re counting the reps, 1 push up = 1 rep, 2 push ups = 2 reps and so on.
Now reps is a universal term in fitness so it applies pretty much everywhere so don’t attache push up to the word rep, that was just an example here.
If you’re doing something like curls curling all the way up and back down to the starting position is 1 rep, don’t curl up and count 1 then lower it down and think that is 2.
I’m not sure why anyone would count this way but I just wanted to clarify to help prevent any confusion.
What Does Sets Mean In Exercise?
A set is how many cycles of the reps you do or are planning to do.
Going to use push ups here again as our example. Let’s say you plan on doing 25 push ups without stopping but you want to do 100 push ups overall. You have laid out that you want to do 4 sets of push ups at 25 reps per set.
Now you do your first 25 push ups and take a quick break for water. You’ve finished 1 set and now have 3 more sets of push ups left to do to hit your goal mark of 100.
Note this, you take a break in between sets, as in you don’t do all 100 push ups without stopping and say hey I did all my sets of push ups. What you did here was actually 1 set of 100 push ups.
Sets are laid out in workout routines to help you keep a stop, go, stop, go pattern to help you be able build muscle.
Another note here is when I say take a break in between sets, I mean 1 minute to 1 1/2 minute max between sets. You want to give your muscles a slight break but not to much, I’ll get more into that in another article.
You do not take a break in between reps, they are continuous until you hit your designated number you’re aiming for.
Hopefully this has helped clear up any confusion you may have had between these two.
How Many Reps And Sets Per Workout To Build Muscle
There is no magic number here when trying to determine how many sets and reps to choose for your workout. This is because everyone responds differently but there are some muscles that tend to respond better with certain workouts which I’ll be gladly covering here.
Something to remember is you never want to stay with the same rep/set type of routine for very often ( I change every 3 months) or your body adjusts to it, which means less muscle gains.
The reps/sets is key to what makes a workout routine effective and there is so many fitness sites out there that post their workout routines in great detail for others to use as a blueprint.
I recommend getting a routine, either printing it out or looking at it on your phone and follow it to the tee for at least 3 weeks to see how your body is responding to it.
Are High Reps Light Weight Or Low Reps Heavy Weight Reps Best For Triceps?
The triceps are probably the most complicated muscle, not because they’re hard to grow but having 3 different sections of the triceps make it a more commitment to get all 3 worked out properly.
Most people don’t realize that there are 3 different heads to the triceps and if they do they usually think that any triceps exercise workouts all areas of the triceps which unfortunately isn’t the case.
So what about the reps ranges?
Long Head Triceps: Generally long head triceps grow better with heavy weight low reps (4-8 reps).
Lateral Head Triceps: The Lateral Head varies greatly per person but most tend to notice better results with high reps (12-18 reps) low weight.
Medial Head Triceps: Lastly the medial head tends to get good reaction to a mix of both both heavy/light weight & high/low reps. Super sets work great for this muscle.
Image Credits: I T A L O