Happy Thursday to you,
Today I’m down in the New Forest in the southern part of England for a few days.
I’m here with Lucy’s parents exploring the local area and, dare I say it, doing a bit of bird watching.
Lucy’s dad is a lifelong bird watcher having travelled the world seeking out rare birds and so is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to wildlife.
I find this very relaxing, which is a nice change from all the stress and anxiety that seems to be in the world right now.
OK, let’s look at an exciting way to plan and improve your workouts…
An interesting and effective way to plan your workouts is by using a format called ‘rep setting’.
Simply put, you select a certain amount of reps, say 100, and then divide your workouts up to fulfil that amount of reps.
Here’s an example using the kettlebell swing for 100 reps:
- 10 x 10 reps (weeks 1 – 3)
- 5 x 20 reps (weeks 4 – 5)
- 4 x 25 reps (weeks 6 – 7)
- 2 x 50 reps (week 8)
- 1 x 100 reps (week 9)
So as a beginner you may start with sets of 10 reps, looking to achieve a total of 100 reps.
As you improve you can increase the reps to 20 and perform only 5 sets to achieve the total 100 reps.
Later you progress to 25 reps, 50 reps and finally 100 total reps non-stop.
If you only have 1 kettlebell then this is a great way to increase the intensity without increasing the load.
Strength vs Endurance
As you can see from the example above 10 reps is very different from 100 reps.
If 10 reps is a challenge for you then you are working within a strength range whereas 20 reps and above will be more of an endurance range.
So the 5 different options above will mostly be for endurance rather than strength.
If your goals are more strength based then you will want to reduce the total number of reps from 100 down to maybe 24.
Here’s an example using the Clean and Press for 24 reps:
- 2 x 12 reps (weeks 1 – 2)
- 3 x 8 reps (week 3 – 4)
- 4 x 6 reps (weeks 5 – 6)
- 6 x 4 reps (weeks 7 – 8)
For this format I would suggest reversing the order and starting with more strength/endurance and finishing with pure strength.
You would also need to increase the weight as you reduced the number of reps.
Programs like these enable you to work through different muscle types and energy systems in a safe and effective way.
Be sure to choose the correct exercises for your goals, for example more dynamic exercises including the swing and snatch lend themselves well to higher rep endurance exercises. The clean and press or pistol squat works better for more grind or strength based workouts.
Let’s now look at rep setting workouts with more than one exercise…
Here’s an example of rep setting using 10 exercises:
- Two Handed Swings
- Reverse Lunge
- High Pulls
- Goblet Squats
- Clean and Press
- Side Lunge
- Suitcase Rows
I’ve chosen a nice selection of exercises above to balance out the complete body and of course using those 5 all-important movement patterns.
Weeks 1 & 2: 10 x 10 reps each
Perform all 10 exercises for 10 reps each on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Weeks 3 & 4: 5 x 20 reps each
Perform exercises 1 – 5 above for 20 reps each on Monday and Thursday, and complete exercises 6 – 10 on Tuesday and Friday.
Weeks 5 & 6: 2 x 50 reps each
Complete exercises 1 – 2 for 50 reps each on Monday. Then exercises 3 – 4 for 50 reps each on Tuesday. 5 – 6 on Wednesday, 7 – 8 on Thursday and 9 – 10 on Friday.
This weeks question:
Q. “I have trouble with Squats and lunges, they cause me knee problems. I’m looking for some guidance on what I can do to replace the squat component in your workouts?”
A. This is a very common question and you do have a few squat and lunge alternatives.
Firstly, the kettlebell swing or deadlift will strengthen your legs, buttocks and challenge your cardio but without such a great knee bend. The beauty of the kettlebell is the handle is higher off the floor and so limits knee bend.
Secondly, I love using the step up exercise with clients that have bad knees. Start with a low step that your knee can handle and keep one foot permanently on the step while you step up and down with the other. Do not push off with the bottom leg, pull yourself up from the top leg.
Work up to 15 reps per side, for 3 sets and 3 times per week. Over time increase the height of the step aiming for a step at knee height. You should find that by strengthening your legs and Glutes it will take the pressure off your knees.
That’s all for today.
Take care of yourself and each other,
P.S. Don’t want to design your own workouts, see my latest programs here