What are series and repetitions in a training routine?
It is one of the most common questions when you arrive at the gym the first time or when you start a training routine set up by a professional trainer: what are the series and repetitions in a routine and what do they depend on?
What is a series and a repetition
We understand by repetitions the number of consecutive times that you repeat the same exercise until the rest. That set of repetitions prior to each break is known as a series or tanda.
The grouping of series of the different exercises will configure your training routine. For example, if you have an exercise with 4 sets and 15 repetitions means that you will do the exercise 15 times in a row, you rest, you repeat it 15 times, you rest again, you repeat it 15 times more, you rest and you repeat it the last 15 times. So you will have completed it 4 times, which are the 4 series that you had assigned in your routine.
The number of sets and repetitions of each exercise will depend on the objective you want to achieve: power, resistance or hypertrophy.
Types of series
There are many types of series and the choice of the best series for you will depend on your objective, circumstances and level, but it is recommended that a professional coach be assigned to assign you your training routine.
And with that said, some of the most popular series are the following:
- Superseries They include the performance of 2 different exercises without rest and the ideal is to do it for antagonistic muscles. After the series, there will be a break and the next series will be repeated. This type of series is recommended for people who do not have too much time to train, since it allows one muscle to work while the other rests.
- Pyramidal. They can be ascending or descending. In the first the idea is to reduce the number of repetitions and increasing the weight to use. In the case of the descending pyramid, the opposite happens: you will start with fewer repetitions and more weight and you will increase repetitions and reduce weight in each series.
- Biseries and triseries. It is about chaining a sequence of different exercises that work the same muscle group and without rest between them. If 2 consecutive exercises are done, we talk about biseries and if there are 3, triseries.
- Giants It is similar to the biseries and triseries, only here they combine 4-5 different exercises in a row, with hardly any rest (or even without it). They are usually used in large muscle groups and in multiarticular groups.
- Burning It consists of performing partial repetitions at the end of each series, so that extra work is generated in the muscle.
- Forced To perform this type of series you need the help of a coach or partner. It's about making as many repetitions as possible and having someone else help you do some additional repetition. You have to be especially careful with injuries and overheating.
Series, repetitions and breaks
Depending on the number of series and repetitions that are made of each exercise you will be working different factors. For example, if you have series with only 6-10 repetitions you are working on muscle development, whereas if you exceed 10 repetitions you will be working toning. Thus, depending on your objective, your coach will establish the appropriate routine, with its corresponding series, repetitions, breaks and weights.
The normal thing when you start to train is to do 2-3 sets of maximum 10 repetitions so as not to overload the muscles and avoid injuries. You will see how hard it is to finish the 10 repetitions of each series, but with time you will improve and endure better. In fact, you will be adding more weight if what you propose is to tone or gain muscle mass.
The vast majority begins with a definition routine which consists of fat loss and muscle maintenance along with a diet adapted to this goal. The normal thing is to do a training with high intensity series that will go in combination with aerobic exercises of 30-40 minutes, minimum 3 days a week.
The most experienced people who focus on hypertrophy they get to practice routines of 10 series and 10 repetitions each. It's the call 10 × 10 Cometti and few muscle groups are trained in each session.
They also perform other types of less aggressive routines. For example 3-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions with loads of 0.7-0.8 RM (maximum weight to be lifted in each exercise). The rest period can vary between 30 and 90 seconds.
For work muscle power so many series and repetitions will not be necessary. In fact, only 2-3 repetitions of each series would be made.
In the case of resistance training we would speak of 3-4 series with 12-20 repetitions and with little weight (around 0.5-0.7 RM). The breaks could be 30 seconds, for example.
The breaks between series can be 10 seconds, 30 seconds, 45 or even 1 minute. Your personal trainer will be responsible for assigning you breaks along with the series and repetitions of your training routine.
Whatever your objective and exercise routine, remember that always perform the same training routine is not advisable because the muscles will end up "getting used" and you will not see evolution. Thus, it is important to vary the routine, the series, repetitions and breaks to get the maximum performance of your muscles.