What Is A Set In Exercise?

If you’re just starting a weight training program, there are certain terms that you will need to understand to get the most out of your exercise schedule.

What Is A Set In Exercise?

We’ve compiled an ultimate guide to sets in exercise. Read on for lots more information on sets, what they are, and how to track them. Let’s dive in!

What Is A Set?

A set is a very common term that you are likely to come across when you are getting to know exercise terminology. A set is a collection of reps. When a set is mentioned, it is often referring to the number of times that they are going to perform a certain number of reps of one exercise. 

For example, it is very common to perform one exercise in 3 sets of 10 reps. This will mean that you will be completing the exercise 30 times overall, split into 3 groups. 

Depending on your personal goals, you should determine the number of sets that you want to carry out.

When you are performing these sets, the first set should be considered a warm-up. Start with light weights at this point, as this will prepare your muscles for the rest of the exercise.

As you work through the sets, it is a good idea to increase the weight to ensure that your muscles are stimulated. 

How Many Sets Should You Carry Out?

If you are training a larger muscle group it is a good idea to carry out about 12 sets in a session. The larger muscle groups include the back, chest, and legs. 

The more sets that you add to your routine, the more areas of this muscle group you will be able to work out. 

If you are working out smaller muscle groups, you don’t need as many sets. For instance, when you are working out your calves, triceps, and biceps, you will only need to do around 9 or 10 sets per session.

It is a good idea to not overtrain these muscle groups as they can be easily overworked.

What Are Reps? 

When you are learning exercise terminology, you are likely to hear the word reps. ‘Reps’ is the shortened word for ‘repetitions’. A single rep or repetition refers to the cycle of a certain exercise movement. 

Reps refer to a complete movement in which your muscles go through two different phases. These phases are the contraction phase and the extension phase. This whole process is known as a rep. 

The number of reps that you carry out during a workout will have a large impact on the effect of the workout. This number will determine whether the exercise will result in endurance or strength gains. 

If you perform between 3 and 5 reps using very heavy weights you are likely to be focussing on strength. If you perform between 8 and 12 reps of an exercise with smaller weights, you are likely to be focussing on hypertrophy gain.

If you carry out more than 12 reps of one exercise, you are likely focussing on endurance. If you have a certain goal when it comes to exercise, you will need to alter the number of reps in each exercise.

How Long Should You Rest Between Sets?

In between sets of an exercise, you will need to make sure that you have a rest interval. This is very important because it gives your body and your muscles time to recover.

What Is A Set In Exercise?

The rest period between sets can range from 30 seconds to two minutes, depending on the type of exercise that you are carrying out. 

Rest times will be different depending on your exercise goals. For example, if your goal is related to muscle hypertrophy, you will need around 30 to 60 seconds of rest time. 

If your exercise goal is related to muscle endurance, you will want to have a similar rest time of between 30 and 60 seconds. 

For power training, the ideal rest time between sets is 1 or 2 minutes. If you are building strength, you will need to rest for between 2 and 5 minutes.

Resting between sets is very important, as you run the risk of injury if you do not rest in between sets. However, if you rest for too long between reps or sets, your muscles may begin to cool down, making the workout less effective.

Best Way To Train For General Fitness

When you are training for general fitness, it is recommended that you carry out between 8 and 15 reps for 3 sets. 

To train for general fitness, you will want to choose around 10 exercises, ensuring that you work out your upper and lower body and your core. You should choose weights that suit you and work out so that you are tired by the last rep, but it is not too difficult to lift.

This will set a good foundation before you set more goal-specific workouts.

Best Way To Train For Strength Workouts

If you are hoping to build strength, you should use heavy weights. You will want to lift these weights for a low number of reps, with very long rest periods. This will ensure that you build strength. 

A good place to start for strength training is to carry out 5 sets of 5 reps with a rest time of between 3 and 6 minutes. 

Best Way To Train For Muscle Growth 

If you are hoping to increase your muscle growth, you will want to use lighter weights for more repetitions. You will also want to have shorter rest times in between.

This form of workout requires you to put stress on your muscles to the point that the muscles suffer some damage. You will then want to rest the muscle so that it can repair itself. In this process, your muscles will grow larger.

Final Thoughts 

So, there you have it! If you’re wondering what a set is in exercise, you’ve come to the right place! You should now have all your answers to understand the best way to work out depending on what you want to achieve from your workout.

Laura Simmons
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