Metro Bariatrics - Amir Moazzez MD, FACS

The Importance of Percentages and Repetition Ranges for Exercises

When performing an exercise how do we come up with the amount of weight lifted and how many repetitions to do? Most do not understand the importance of repetition range. This repetition range is a percentage based on your 1-rep max (a lift you can achieve only one time at maximal exertion). A keynote to remember is if your doing 50% of your 1-rep max it is important that you are not giving 50% effort, but more importantly your pushing 100% as if you were trying to push as much as possible but the percentage of weight you are using is 50% of your 1-rep max. So why are these percentages important? This gives us how many repetitions we can do at these given percentages. What percentage and repetition range is right for you? Most of us will stay in the hypertrophy (muscle building) phase or the muscular endurance phase. Our goal is not to get as strong as possible and lift the most weight, our goals are to lose weight, tone, firm up and build muscle while increasing muscular endurance. Below is a chart to better help illustrate this.

So now if you were to set up your exercise program and you wanted to work on building more muscle we would do an exercise for 3-4sets of 10-15reps at 55%-70% of your 1-rep max. If we wanted to build muscular endurance and work on definition and endurance we would do an exercise for 2-3sets of 15 or more reps at 55% or below. Now what is important to note is that for 1 particular exercise (Ex. Pushup) we don’t want to go out of 60 total reps. We want to stay between 40-60 total reps (when the percentage is below 70%, dealing with strength and power the total will be dramatically lower because of the heavy weight and stress on the central nervous system. Ex. 5sets of 5reps is 25 total reps but the weight lifted is much higher) for a given exercise. Such as 4sets of 10reps is 40 total reps or 3sets of 15reps is 45 total reps. This how you would choose how many sets and reps are right for you and your specific goal.

When starting an exercise program it is important to start light, slow and get into a good solid routine. These are the principles used to build a program based on your specific individual needs and goals. We hope this helps you when choosing different exercises and what goal you’re trying to reach.