T Nation

Length of Time for a Rep?

This question may be out of scope for a beginner, but is there any general rule for how long a rep should be on any given exercise? and does it make a difference whether you’re trying to strengthen/bulk/cut?

[quote]dreadlocks1221 wrote:
This question may be out of scope for a beginner, but is there any general rule for how long a rep should be on any given exercise? and does it make a difference whether you’re trying to strengthen/bulk/cut?[/quote]
Speed work and quicker lifts generally will help you build strength. Westside to Broz agree on this and I think its generally accepted. So if you are trying to get a new max keep your reps moving quickly. If you are trying to build muscle/hypertrophy then slow reps with the muscle being stressed for a longer time are apparently superior.

What are your goals?

My current goal is to put on 20lbs of lean muscle mass in the next 2 years, then after that to build strength while maintaining my weight.

[quote]dreadlocks1221 wrote:
This question may be out of scope for a beginner, but is there any general rule for how long a rep should be on any given exercise? and does it make a difference whether you’re trying to strengthen/bulk/cut?[/quote]
Are you sure you mean “rep” or do you mean “set”? A rep is one “lifting and lowering” of the weight. A set is doing a few reps one after another after another.

How long a rep “should” take is called tempo. A lot of different people have different idea about it. Mike Robertson recently had a pretty good article about it:

However, it can definitely be something that people overanalyze and get hung up on. For most people most of the time, simply “lifting pretty fast, lowering deliberately and controlled but not superslow” is a good rule of thumb.

If you’re talking about how long a “set” should be, again, lots of different ideas but generally lifting heavier for fewer reps emphasizes strength building while lifting heavy weights for moderate reps puts more of an emphasis on hypertrophy. However, there’s quite a bit of “crossover” between the two.

How much weight have you in the last month?

I put on roughly 5 pounds in a month, obviously not all of it muscle. I read that article about tempo training, it seemed a bit too complex for my skill level at the moment, I’m a fan of keeping it simple.

Yes I did mean a single rep too, right now I’m lifting between 8 - 10 reps. I generally try to pick a weight I think I can only do 6 with and try to go for 8 (because I tend to underestimate how much I can lift).

[quote]dreadlocks1221 wrote:
I put on roughly 5 pounds in a month, obviously not all of it muscle.[/quote]
Good work, keep it going, but make sure your strength is also increasing in most lifts as you go along.

Then keep it simple, no prob. Just keep “fast up, a little slower down” in mind for most exercises. Like I said, not everybody paying a bunch of attention to their lifting tempo and they can still progress just fine.

I don’t believe you should necessarily be counting the “tempo” of your reps, but as a rule of thumb for bodybuilding it’s usually a 1 count up (one-thousand-and-one), and a 1 count down. Obviously after 5 or 6 reps it’s supposed to get harder and the final few reps will be a little slower.

Like I said, I don’t recommend actually counting it out, but if your repetitions are a match to that pace, then it means you are most likely controlling the weight the way you need to be in order to stimulate muscles instead of using momentum or jerking it around or doing “tendon lifting” as I like to call what you see lots of wannabe powerlifters doing. LOL