Rep Ranges- A Game Changer in Home Workouts
Rep ranges are an important part of our workouts, especially because many of us don't have unlimited weights available at home. Normally trainers at a gym would give you a rep range to hit for general strength training (usually 8-12 reps). Then you would find a weight that would be appropriate for that rep range, so you would complete that exercise with a weight that you could do 8 reps but that you couldn't do much over 12 reps. This was easy because at your gym you would have many weight options available to you.
Welcome to at home training! If you have a full set of dumbbells at home- that's great! But most people don't (and that is what we are planning on!). So we will use rep ranges to increase and decrease intensity and fatigue.
What is a rep range?
A rep range is a range of numbers that your reps should be falling into. So if we say your rep range is 8-12 (standard rep range) that means that the move you are doing, you should be able to do at least 8 reps with your weight. You want to shoot for a number of reps that is challenging without going to complete failure. The problem when you go to complete failure is usually your form tends to get a little more lax (you recruit other muscle groups to compensate for fatigue, which can lead to injury). Sometimes we do train to complete failure and if this is the purpose of that set then you are focusing on your form. But in general, you should be going to fatigue but not failure (remember you have 2-3 sets of this exercise!). On the other hand, if you can perform 12 reps of that move EASILY- where you think you could do 15+ reps, then that weight is usually too light.
In normal circumstances we would encourage you to drop weight if you can't get to 8 reps and go up in weight if you can do 15+ reps. In this setting however, you may not have the option of switching weight (you may only have one set of dumbbells- which is what we are planning on).
So how do I work within my rep ranges if I only have one set of dumbbells?
For our workouts we will give adjusted rep ranges. So an exercise that you may normally only do 10-12 reps of in a gym, we are taking into account that you have one set of weights and they could be light for a particular move, so we will increase your rep range to maybe 15-20 reps. Or on the other hand, if we know it is a challenging move, we may drop your rep range to 6-8 reps.
The long & short of it
What we want you to remember is that this is YOUR workout. We want you to be knowledgeable about what you are doing and doing what is right for you. For any move (unless otherwise stated) you should try to find your appropriate number of reps. This means going to fatigue whether that is 6 or 20 reps. Make the weights you have available, work for you and your workout!
We will talk more about reps 'to failure', or as many reps as possible (AMRAP) and other types of workouts later but this information is going to be your starting point for most typical workouts.
Have a strong day!