To get the benefits of strength trainingl, you need to be genuinely challenging your muscles - this means fatiguing your muscles in 15 reps or less. If you can do 24 reps in a row, the weight is too light. You should rest between 30 seconds and 5 minutes between sets - muscles recover fairly quickly. As Jenmc noted, you can do a different exercise working a different muscle group in the meantime - this is known as 'supersetting'
Not all of your muscle fibers are used in any one rep, and doing multiple sets ensures you end up working most of the muscle fibers. You get about 70% of the maximum possible advantage with the 1st set, 90% with the 2nd, and 95% with the 3rd.
And it's not a silly question - I had the very same question in mind when I first started.
You can do it either way. You can also "super set" A & B by doing A and B back to back, no break before taking a rest between sets. That is best done by having A be for one muscle group and B being for another, though. If you can do 24 reps without difficulty, the weight is too light. You'll gain muscular endurance, but you won't really get any stronger or gain muscle.
Edited by: JENMC14 at: 5/16/2012 (11:53)
Fitness Minutes: (12,476)
7,865 5/16/12 9:59 A
Personally, I alternate. I'll do exercise A for 1 set, then exercise B for one set. This is how we generally do it in my group classes, those led by trainers. I do not know if this is optimal, however, it does alleviate the boredom!
Fitness Minutes: (6,088)
304 5/16/12 9:11 A
Traditionally, you do A for 12, rest and recover for a bit then A again for 12. The idea is to tax the muscle and overload it in 12 reps, so if you can make it to 24 without stopping, you're not using heavy enough weight. If you do 2 sets you overload the muscle twice, with the second time being maybe a bit more difficult. This is how you build strength. Then move on to exercise B.
Ok silly question but I'm doing hand weights at home and have never ever done anything with a personal trainer.
Anyhow I know I'm supposed to do 2 sets of 12-15 reps of various exercises but what I don't get is how you do 2 sets? Am I supposed to do exercise A for 12 then exercise B for 12 then go back to exercise A for 12 more then back to exercise B for 12 more?
Aside from the fact my arms are jelly by the end of 12 reps why can't I just do 24 and be done with it?
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