Resistance Training – Rule #2

Resistance training can be a nightmare.  Look around the gym and you will likely see everyone doing things their own way.  Three sets of 10?  One set of 15?  Light weights, more reps?  Heavy weights, less reps?  Which is best?  Things can be very confusing, especially if you don’t know whose advice to follow.  Perhaps you should copy that big lifting those big dumbbells?  He seems to know what he’s doing?

In order to clarify things a little, I normally give new members three rules to abide by.  Of course, there is no substitute for personalised instruction from a fitness professional and of course there are always specific situations where these rules can be broken.  However they are suitable for most new exercisers and if applied, you can’t go far wrong.

Resistance Training Rule # 2

Reach muscular fatigue between 8 – 12 reps

How many reps do you do?  Ten?  Twelve? Eight?  Fifteen?  Six?


What does each of the figures mean?  Which is best for you?  Well, the simple answer is that there is no conclusive research to state definitively which is best.  Also, individual situations and goals vary so much that there is not one blanket answer to this question.  However, as a rule of thumb and guided by the little research that is out there most fitness professionals will agree that a range of 8 – 12 is best.  This range gives the most practical and comfortable workout results.

So do you automatically stop somewhere in this range?  You seem to have forgotten rule #1 already!  The rule states that you should “Reach muscular fatigue between 8 – 12 reps.

Let me put it this way.
•    If you chose a weight and you can’t do 8 reps before you fatigue then that weight is TOO HEAVY.
•    If you chose a weight and you manage to do more than 12 reps, than that weight is TOO LIGHT.

See, FATIGUE between 8 – 12 reps.  You may need to play around with the weights you use at first but you should get the right weight after a couple of workouts.

Another benefit of this resistance rule is that it makes it easy to identify when to move up a weight.  On the day you manage to do more than 12 good reps, you move up a weight.  (You may now only manage to do 8 reps, but that’s still within our range.)  Stick to the 8 – 12 rep range rule and you know exactly where you stand.


~ by Tony's Desk on September 23, 2008.

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