Structuring your reps with different weight amounts will help you reach your goals.
Medioimages/Photodisc/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Before trainers can tell their clients how many reps to do on the gym equipment, they have to know what the client wants to accomplish. By combining a certain number of reps and sets you do with different weight amounts, you can influence whether your muscles build size and strength or gain definition and tone. By working out consistently, you'll get the same successful results no matter what type of gym equipment you use, whether it's the cable equipment or the free weights.
Building Size and Strength1.
Select a heavier weight, one that you can lift or press more than just once or twice.2.
Perform at least 4 repetitions. You can do as many as 8 in a set, but if your muscles aren't fatigued and you could easily do more than 8 reps, you should increase the weight.3.
Do 3 to 5 sets with 4 to 8 reps in each set. Take a break for 1 to 3 minutes in between each set.
Toning and Defining1.
Use light weights for toning and definition.2.
Do 8 to 12 reps in one set. If you cannot do at least 8 reps, the weight is too heavy and you'll need to lighten it up. If you can easily do 12 repetitions without becoming fatigued, the weight is too light and you should increase it.3.
Perform 3 to 5 sets with 8 to 12 repetitions in each one. Rest for 30 to 90 seconds in between each set.
- Everyone's endurance and cardiovascular fitness is different. The resting times given here are general guidelines. Personal trainer Matt Siaperas counsels clients to rest long enough so they can catch their breath between sets.
- When you use light weights and increased reps to tone, you'll be improving your muscular endurance, too.
- You know it's time to increase weight when you can get through a set without it taxing you. That's a good rule of thumb when your goal is developing size and strength, but when you're toning, increase your reps before increasing the weight. Go as high as 15 to 18 reps and when you've mastered that, increase the weight slightly and drop back down to 8 to 12 reps.