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Strength Training for Fat Loss

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Hi, Carolyn,

 

Interesting article. I agree with what she says, EXCEPT for having to do 3-4 sets. Currently, ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine - the gold standard for Personal Trainers) guidelines recommend a minimum of ONE set performed TWICE a week, for each major muscle group. ACSM bases their recommendations on scientific research that shows that 80% of your strength gains (in any given week) comes from the FIRST set that you do. Beyond that set, any gains will be incremental. The trick, as your author notes, is to do that set with weight heavy enough that you reach failure (or close to it) on your final rep.

 

With my clients, we do TWO sets of one exercise (per muscle group) per workout, and most clients come twice a week. We can hit every muscle group for two sets, working back and forth between muscle groups (i.e. supersets) in a half hour. The reason I do TWO sets with each client is that, sometimes on the first set, we don't get to "failure." It's more like a warm-up set.

 

Another reason I only do two sets is purely a matter of time-efficiency. My clients are more likely to come for a half-hour workout than a one-hour workout, and they are more likely to stick to it in the long run. If I can get them 80% of their strength gains (plus a tad more with those extra three sets during the week), in only a half an hour, it's not worth it to do much more. The old "80/20" rule appears to work for strength training, as in much else in life!

 

For more on the ACSM guidelines, see http://www.exrx.net/WeightTraining/Guidelines.html

 

- Jennifer


ACE-certified Personal Trainer

& WW Lifetime Member

 

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