Q | What are reps, sets, supersets, circuits, and intervals — and when do you use them?
A | If you’re new to lifting weights, it might seem like you need to learn a whole new language just to get started in the gym. Jeff Rosga, NASM-CPT, senior director of Life Time Academy in Chanhassen, Minn., explains these common workout terms.
|Rep||Short for repetition. The number of times you perform an exercise.||Perform 15 reps of squats.|
|Set||A group of reps performed of one exercise prior to resting (also referred to as a round).||Perform three sets of goblet squats, eight reps per set.|
|Superset||Two different exercises performed in back-to-back sets with no rest.||Front squats paired with pushups.|
|Circuit||Two or more exercises repeated for an amount of time or number of reps, performed in sets as a series, usually with minimal rest between each set.||For time: 40 seconds each of rows, lunges, pushups, and deadlifts, repeated three times with no rest between exercises and 60 seconds rest between sets.
For reps: 10 reps each of squat press, single-arm dumbbell incline press, and plank with alternating arm reaches with 30 seconds of rest between each exercise and 90 seconds of rest between sets.
|Intervals||A combination of short, high-intensity bursts of exercise and lower-intensity recovery phases, repeated in one workout session. Different work-to-rest ratios help achieve different training and fitness goals.||The Tabata Protocol: Six to 8 maximum-effort 20-second intervals each followed by 10 seconds of rest, for a workout totaling three to four minutes.|