Posted by: Puzzled | 2007/06/19

Reps & Sets

Having recently returned to gym after a long hiatus, I have noticed a lot of the people doing sets with the same weight and the same reps. This goes slightly against the way things were a while ago, when people used to do sets decreasing in reps, but increasing in weight. Is there a specific reason to this or is it just a more modern way of thinking?

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Our expert says:
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HI Puzzled

Interesting observation. I'm not sure if it represents a shift in culture or thinking, it's possibly just that the person who is in the gym now is different and maybe has different goals. Neither method is correct or incorrect. The pyramid type set that you refer to is still used by a lot of guys who have muscle building as the goal. I must confess, I'm not 100% sure of the logic behind it, because I can see how keeping the weight constant will have an equal effect. But the idea, generally speaking, is that by increasing the weight you shift the focus to muscle building, or bulk. Of course, this requires that the number of reps comes down. But I'm sure you knew that.

I think that the current norm is to do equal reps and weights because perhaps the emphasis is not so much on building muscle but toning and creating definition, so the requirement to go up in weight is not as great. Just personally, I think that for someone wanting massive bulk, I'd start the first set at the same heavy weight and then just do fewer reps from the get-go. But obviously, it has to be part of a periodized plan for the training.

Good luck

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