The myth of high repetitions. Do you really tone up by doing more repetitions?
Everyone who has ever gone to the gym probably has heard that ¨if you want to tone up or lose fat you have to do more repetitions¨, but is this really true? Well, in principle it is, but most people do it wrong, let me explain.
It´s not the repetitions that make you lose weight, it´s the time that your muscles are under stress, which it turn will make them burn more calories and at the end cause you to tone up or lose fat. So when the trainer at the gym gives you a training plan and tells you to do certain exercises, and tells you that you have to do 12-25 repetitions, you have to have certain things in mind:
- First, you should chose a weight that allows you to perform 12-25 repetitions at a slow controlled tempo. Meaning chose a heavy enough weight, but a weight that you can control.
- Second, like I said before, the most important thing is TIME. It makes no sense to do the exercise fast, that is the mistake most people make.
- Third, the object of high repetitions is to increase the time our muscles are under stress to burn more calories.
- Fourth, when you do the exercise your muscle should be under continuous tension for 60-120 seconds.
So now, let us imagine you have to do 20 repetitions for an exercise, every repetition should at least take you 3 seconds to perform, to reach the minimum objective of 60 seconds. The American College of Sports Medicine, the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and the National Academy of Sports Medicine usually recommend a tempo of 2 seconds up, 2 seconds hold and 2 seconds down.
Also, something very important and that people usually forget is that, after you are done with your ¨set¨ or exercise, you should only rest in between 30 to 60 seconds. We don´t want our heart-rate to go down and we need to keep moving to continually burn calories.
A good training that is effective for this type of workout is a circuit training. A circuit training consist of for example 6-8 machines or exercises. You do one machine and go right to the next one. After you are done with all the machines (that´s called a set) then, and only then, you rest 30 to 60 seconds. You do can do that 3 times and that would be an effective training for weight loss.
In my next blog I will talk about the abdominal. Why are we so obsessed with this muscle? Is it so important? What´s the best exercise for the abdominal and is there such a thing as upper and lower abdominal? I will try to answer all this questions in my next blog. Until next time.
Clark M, Corn R. NASM OPT Optimum Performance Training for the Fitness Professional, 2nd Edition. National Academy of Sports Medicine.2001
Baechle T, Earle R. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. 1994 National Strength and Codition Association.2nd Edition:2000.