By Brandon Thompson & Adam Malek PT, DPT, SCS
When attending Physical Therapy, there are several goals that will be set based on your reason for needing to be treated. In this two-part article, we will discuss how repetitions and sets play a role in your physical therapy. Here is part one, explaining programming that is considered by Physical Therapists, to help you return to an active lifestyle, performance training, or sport. The guidelines below are also good recommendations for any athlete when considering a training program.
What are REPETITIONS? The total number of a specific movement performed during a workout session.
Do REPETITIONS matter? Yes. Depending on what your end goal is for the muscle, repetitions will vary depending on if you want to train strength, power, hypertrophy, and or endurance.
What are SETS? A group of repetitions performed back-to-back, before the athlete stops to rest.
Do SETS matter? It generally has been assumed that a minimum of 3 sets of each exercise is needed to provide the greatest gains in muscle strength and size. In the 1990s scientists started to challenge this assumption. Studies began to show that a single set may be just as effective as multiple sets for increasing muscle size and strength. Single sets are likely appropriate for untrained people for the first 6-12 months, but multiple sets are important for further gains in strength, endurance, power and hypertrophy. Intermediate to advanced athletes may need 4-6 sets to benefit from the exercise. When lifting your max weight, it is a good idea to use fewer sets at that weight as it is very taxing on the body to perform max weight for multiple sets while maintaining proper form and technique.
Below are general guidelines for Repetitions, Sets, Rest, Resistance recommended.
Part 2 will discuss what to consider with repetitions, sets, and resistance based on type on injury.
Click here to read Do Repetitions and Sets Matter, Part 2.