Training Glossary – What are reps and sets?

The aim of this glossary is not to state the obvious, it is for the absolute beginners. So I’ve kept every in plain english where possible. We’ve all been rookies at some point and know what its like to feel excluded from a conversation only because we don’t understand the language that a group of people use…. It happens all the time, naturally we shorten words to send cool and with the “in-crowd” just to validate ourselves. However, it creates walls and feelings of inconfidence for the absolute beginner who might have every intention of learning from the best of us but get left out.

So for the absolute beginner, I salute you! This post is for you! You are welcome to this “In-Crowd”. Welcome to the fitness family!

Be proud that you are starting your fitness journey. Get to grips with all the terminology and don’t be afraid to ask what does that mean.

There is nothing wrong with not knowing words, there are many words which I myself have yet to discover. We are all learning, we are all growing!

 What is a Muscle Group?

A muscle group is a collections of muscle all within a related portion of the body.

The stated muscle group generally require all related muscles to interact and perform a movement. Some muscle groups are groups within groups. Some of you might find this confusing, others might be very interested, what ever floats your boat but just so you have an idea, here are the most familiar muscle groups that you’ll hear about most often.

Arms:

Biceps, Triceps, Shouldesr & Fore-arms.

Chest:

Pecs (major and minor), Serratus Anterior  & Shoulders.

Back:

Traps (upper, mid and lower), Rhomboids, Lats, Lower back

Legs:

Quads (group of 4 muscles), Hamstrings (group of 3 muscles), Calves (Group of 2 muslces), Anterior Tibialis (1 muscle)

Core:

Abdominals, obliques (internal and external), pelvic floor, diaphragm, intercostals,

Primary and Secondary Muscle Groups

Muscle Groups can be divided further into primary and secondary groups and are usually based on the primarily active muscles doing the most work in a movement, and secondary muscles which are engaged but their main role will be to assist a movement or help stabilise a joint. There is much debate as to which muscle is doing what and why but i’ll spare you detail at this moment.

What are Reps?

Reps are short for repetition (just in case you didnt know but lets admit it, we’ve all been rookies at some point in our lives)

A repetition is a complete cycle of a movement that returns to its starting position.

This may seem like i’m stating the obvious but the reality is that most novices have no idea how to appreciate the benefits of both the up and down movements during the rep. It’s easy to think of lifting as only the upwards phase of a movement and by definition that is understandable. However the downward phase is just as important as the upward phase.

Top Tip:

Have a look at tempo to see how to lift like a pro, even as a beginner and put your self in a position to get your gains with out wasting months in the gym using hapless reps!

What are Sets?

A set is a single group of reps that you perform in continuous exertion with no rest in between.

For example: “3×10” on an exercise means there are 3 groups of 10 reps that you need perform.

What is Tempo? (or Tempo Training?)

The timing of each rep adds absolute quality and precision to any exercise. Your ability to use tempo during training shows true focus and rhythm through a workout that can’t be topped. Where resistance training is concerned, by adding tempo training to your workout, you are now truly starting to lift like a pro!

Tempo (EBCT) is expressed as a group of 4 numbers (Example 3:1:2:0) and each number represents a stage of a rep. In exact order, the example shows the following direction for lifting:

  • 3 seconds lowering the weight. (Eccentric)
  • 1 second holding at the bottom. (Bottom)
  • 2 seconds driving the weigh back up. (Concentric)
  • 0 seconds pause at the top. (Top)

Top Tip:

I recommend practicing your tempo during the warm up. Loading your muscles for longer will make you workout much harder, so do not start too heavy otherwise you will fatigue too early and wont reach your target rep range.

What is Rest?

Rest is the amount of time you should take to recover between sets.

Its actually critically important to keep your rest time quite strict to maintain your workout intensity. Sloppy timing means its far to easy to rest for too and recover too much, basically meaning that you might as well be doing your first set over and over. More often than not, the goal is to achieve a sense of escalating intensity throughout your workout, and not completely cooling down between sets

Top Tip:

Keep a count down timer with an alarm with you during sessions. Most smart phones will have them and there are plenty of apps available to keep you on the beat.

What are Super Sets?

Super Sets are where you combine 2 or 3 exercise, for similar or opposing muscle groups.

A set of reps is done on each exercise without resting in between. It’s a fantastic way to increase the overall work done within a short space of time and if your workout is planned well, it proves a very time-efficient way of training since you can cover a lot of ground in your routine very quickly.

Examples of Opposing Muscle Group Super Set

  • Lats & Shoulders
  • Chest & Back
  • Quads & Hams
  • Biceps & Triceps

Examples of Similar Muscle Group Super Set

  • Tricep Overhead Extension VS Tricep Push-down
  • Chest Press Vs Chest Flyes
  • Wide Grip Lat pulldown VS Straight Arm Pull-down
  • Shoulder Press VS Lateral Delt Raise
  • Standing EzBar Bicep Curls VS Seated Incline Dumbbell Curls

What are Giant Sets?

Giant Sets are where you really step it up a notch further from super sets and start combining a series or circuit of exercises together with no rest between each exercise.

My Kettlebell Warrior ready workout alternates between lower VS upper body 3 times to complete 6 sets before finishing off with 2 more sets of full body dynamic VS static super-sets

  1. Lower Body
  2. Upper Body
  3. Lower Body
  4. Upper Body
  5. Lower Body
  6. Upper Body
  7. Full Body & Core (Dynamic)
  8. Full Body & Core (Static)

Undeniably it is a skyrocketing metabolism boosting way to train that is one of the most effective ways of burning fat from your entire body.

By | 2017-11-17T02:30:29+00:00 November 17th, 2017|Exercise|0 Comments