Training Variables Terminology
Several training variables must be considered when giving guidelines for completing a resistance exercise program. The training variables we will explore are:
- Repetitions (Reps)
- Rest Between Sets
Manipulation of these variables will influence your training outcomes. Any time you are studying KLT and learning new workouts you will be guided as to the best way to manipulate these variables to achieve the best outcomes.
The number of times that a movement is repeated (from start position to finish position and back again).
In KLT, we suggest working within a specific rep-range to achieve a specific outcome. For example, 12 to 16 reps is a great start for those aiming to achieve movement control and muscular endurance.
Whenever a rep-range is suggested there must be a clarification of tempo. How many should I perform? And how fast should I move?
The speed at which a rep is performed. That is, the time it takes to move from the start position to finish position and back again. The standard rep tempo suggested for those that are new to KLT is a very controlled 5 seconds per rep.
Tempo is an extremely important (although rarely acknowledged) variable. Whenever there is a discussion about rep numbers there needs to be a clarification of rep tempo.
It is a fact that 10 reps performed at a 2 sec/rep speed will have a very different training effect than 10 reps performed at a 5 sec/rep speed. In the first case, the movement is under load for 10 reps x 2 seconds = 20 seconds. In the second case, the movement is under load for 10 reps x 5 seconds = 50 seconds (more than double the volume of work is being performed).
In exercise science, the product of reps multiplied by tempo is known as time under tension.
A single set is a series of repetitions performed with continuous time-under-tension.
In KLT we have determined that, for good results (and for simplicity), 2 sets of each exercise is adequate for a short duration workout and 4 sets is ideal of a an extended training session.
For example we may suggest that you complete an exercise for 2 sets of 14 reps at a 5 second/rep tempo.
Rest Between Sets
The rest period between successive sets of reps.
In KLT, the rest period between sets will vary slightly depending on the specific outcome to be achieved. Typically, training with heavier weights requires longer rest periods (1 - 2 minutes or more) between sets. And you should be fine with shorter rest periods (just 30-60 seconds) if the loads are quite light.
The amount of weight being lifted / moved / controlled.
This is arguably the most important variable to choose correctly. Load choice will ultimately determine the intensity of the effort required and therefore directly influence the number of reps and tempo (or time under tension) that can be performed with control before experiencing fatigue.