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Reps and sets

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Old 01-06-2011, 04:44 PM   #1
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Default Reps and sets

Is there any specific advantage in short breaks between sets and reps or not? I mean, if I intend to do 3 sets of 8 reps (8 has been recommended for heavy weights) does it really matter if I take a rest for one minute between or I do one set at breakfast, lunch and dinner? I suppose you'd describe this as strength training but it's more "doing something instead of nothing" training, and it's to try to give me more lean muscle to burn up fat at rest, since I end up with a heck of a lot of rest!

I know most people are keen to fit "a workout" into a certain period of time then go do something else, but if I am in bed for 12 hours some days it doesn't matter to me when stuff fits around. Does it actually matter?
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Old 01-06-2011, 05:06 PM   #2
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I don't think one set at lunch, then a set at dinner, then a set at supper is really going to do much.
Yeah, it's better than nothing, but for me I've gotta get the muscle fatigued to see any progress.
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Old 01-06-2011, 05:14 PM   #3
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Yes.

In order to get a muscle to grow, you need to stress it. The high tension (from lifting heavy stuff) triggers a biochemical process in the body that creates new proteins that are built into muscle. That's myofibrillar hypertrophy, if you really care. In order to generate the unusual stress to the muscle to stimulate growth, you need to lift a heavy weight to something close to failure. Unless you are doing 1-rep maxes every 4 hours, odds are good that your 4 hour rest periods between sets will allow too much recovery time, and your muscles won't be put under the requisite stress.

There's (arguably) another form of growth, sarcoplasmic growth, that occurs when you deplete the energy stores (glycogen) in the muscle. The muscle responds by trying to increase its capacity to store energy, not build new tissue per se. This type of growth generally occurs under high rep, low rest period training regimes. People who talk about "the pump" in their muscles are typically referring to this type of growth.

Although there's some variation in rep and rest schemes across programs (hopefully corresponding to the lifters' goals, but not always), the range of that variation tends to be pretty minimal in the greater scheme of things. So, some programs recommend 1-rep maxes, others up to 20 or 25 reps, but no reputable scheme that I know of recommends 4,567 reps per set. Similarly, I've seen programs that recommend anywhere between 10 seconds and 5 minute rests, but none recommend 10 hours between sets. It's because of the physiological mechanisms of muscle growth.

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