Whether you have to create a WOD or program your accessory work, you will have to face the number of reps question.
How many reps and sets should I do, regarding my goals? Applying to WODs, why 21-15-9 works so well?
Behind reps and sets, there are basically 3 main purposes with a range of reps for each :
It’s about being able to move heavier weights and loads and being better at short duration efforts. This is the main goal for Powerlifters.
If you want to build strength, the ideal range is about 1-6 reps. Working with heavy loads will create a lot of intensity for a short amount of reps. That’s the stimulus you want to provide to build pure strength.
It’s basically about the muscle size. This is the main goal for Bodybuilders.
To increase muscle size, the ideal range is from 8-12 reps. Working with a moderate amount of reps with a moderate intensity will help you to maximize hypertrophy. In other terms, it will build some muscle with a bit of strength.
This one is about being able to be efficient with a load during a long time. This is the main goal for Marathon runners or boxers.
To train your muscle endurance, the ideal range is 12/15 to more. Working with a low intensity for a long amount of reps will help your muscles to be more aerobically efficient.
To know how many sets to do, this table will help you to find what matches your goal.
|General muscle fitness||1-2||8-15||65-80%|
|Muscle endurance||2-3||≥ 12||60-70%|
|Muscle strength||2-6||≤ 6||80-90%|
Resting time is very personal, you can find a lot a “recommended resting time” but nobody is built the same way. You just have to know that, the heavier you are working with, the longer you have to rest. Consequently, a low charge will mean short rest.
There is a good technique I like to teach and apply, that works well with moderate to heavy work: when you feel ready to go for the set, add 30sec more to your resting time, and then you’ll be free to go.
Thanks to all the previous tips, it will be easier for you now to work for the right amount of reps and sets during your accessory work.
For example, if I want to be stronger on my Deadlift, 5×5 at 80% of my 1RM would fit perfectly my needs.
You probably already asked yourself about a number of reps during a WOD.
21-15-9, for example, is a famous scheme used in Crossfit which is working very well.
So, why does that scheme work so well and why is it so famous?
Regarding the Crossfit motto that wants you to be better with the unknowable, controlled randomness is the best way for success.
That DOES NOT mean that it was created randomly. I think, on the contrary, it was created to destabilize you and makes you think out of the box.
If we divide the numbers of sets and reps :
Now, it can refer to something you know, right?
That’s the point.
This scheme is working well because it can keep you in intensity during all the workout and it’s right in the strength building range of reps!
Also, for me, what makes it so famous is that mentally, it looks short and because it’s decreasing reps each set, it takes you to a constant intensity.