“How many reps and sets should I do?” As a personal trainer, I hear this question every day and my reply to them is “what is your exercise goal?” There are three main factors that can be changed while lifting weights: weight, the number of repetitions, and the number of sets. For endurance training, I recommend performing several repetitions for two or three sets with a light weight. Fifteen to 20 repetitions is preferable. For strength training, I recommend performing a low number of repetitions for four to five sets with a heavy weight. Five to ten repetitions for strength training is recommended.
When lifting weights, you should focus on the last few repetitions until failure. The last few repetitions are the ones that tear or breakdown the muscles which allow for muscle growth. For example, if you are performing a chest press for 20 repetitions and the muscles don’t start burning until repetition 15, the last five of the 20 are the “money makers.” The first fifteen are just lead-up repetitions for the last five and for the muscle breakdown. The burning sensation is due to lactic acid, which is converted from glucose when exercising.
What happens to broken down muscles? This is where protein consumption comes into play. Protein is used mainly for repairing and building muscle; which is why it is so popular among workout enthusiasts. I recommend consuming 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight for the serious workout enthusiasts. For example, a 150 pound person should intake about 120 grams of protein. For the non work-out enthusiasts, 50 grams of protein is recommended (which is the daily value). If you have any questions about exercising, please feel free to leave a comment and I will get an answer to you as soon as possible. Good luck with your workouts!!