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Why 3 Sets & 10 Reps Is Killing Your Results & Workout

Aug 20, 2008
After all where did the 3 sets of 10 reps even come from?

Back in the 1940's Thomas Delorme create a similar resistance training program to help rehabilitate World War II soldiers. His routine was a little different but is did consist of 3 sets of 10 reps.

For some reason this was such a stick idea... or tactic... that is just stuck around. Even today I get some kick back from my clients because they think something is not right if don't use 3 sets of 10 reps.

Like the blind leading the blind, I used to do the same thing. For the longest time early on in my fitness lifestyle... I used 3 sets of 10 reps. I even used the same weight on all 3 sets.

Like The Treadmill 3 - 10 Bores Your Body Big Time

You are not alone because 80% of the weight training population... the "normal," not body building population uses this 3 sets of 10 with out even thinking.

It doesn't work for your body because you are never giving it something to strive for. Sure, you can increase the weight but only so far... and the impact on your results from really mixing things up will be incredibly noticeable.

Let's change this and rev up your results again.

The Key Is In The Inverse Relationship

Sets and reps have an inverse relationship. That means that when you increase the number of sets, you need to decease the number of reps. When you increase the number of reps, you need to decrease the number of sets.

Run through some examples...

1 Set 15-20 Reps - Depending on what the goal of the workout, you need to keep these reps high so that you can really exhaust the muscle and get the benefit out of the work you are doing.

If you are a true beginner, you want to just do one set and many reps. This will help you build the foundation for form. It will also get your muscles growing so you can progress properly.

2 Sets 12-15 Reps - This can be great place for beginners to get going... again this is just an example and it really depends on what the particular goal is of the workout.

This type of setup will just bring more endurance and a little more intensity to the workout. These types of setups are really great for fat loss... granted there are some other factors that really make a fat loss program work.

5 sets 5 Reps - This is popular make up of a very popular workout called the 5x5 workout. Built for building maximum muscle. When you increase the sets and drop the reps... you are almost always building muscle.

With a smaller amount of reps, you can really increase the weight and give yourself a much greater intensity workout. The more intense your workout, the more muscle you will grow... and that doesn't always mean that you will get bulky.

So whatever you may be doing now, change it the next time you are in the gym. Like a herd of sheep, don't just follow conventional wisdom... take a stroll into new territory and change your workout up by changing your sets and reps.
About the Author
Dan Boyle is a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer. To learn more about the the proper sets and reps and the best fitness programs, visit http://www.fitness-analyzer.com or his homepage http://www.theartofweightlifting.com
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