The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

How Many Sets And Reps Does It Take?

Anton, Alberto (farioreo), and others have asked how many "sets and reps" of exercises and stretches will help. The answer is in a story my Mother told me when I was small:

A young boy in school always made the same mistake in English. Instead of the proper, "I have gone…" he said, "I have went." The teacher told him to stay after school and write 100 times on the chalkboard, "I have gone, I have gone, I have gone…" The boy wrote "I have gone" the required 100 times. When he finished writing, he saw the teacher had stepped outside. He left her a note, "Dear Teacher, I wrote "I have gone" 100 times, and now I have went home."

The answer is that repetitions are not the entire answer - you have to understand and use the result. I am asked the question so many times of how many "reps" (repetitions) of a rehabilitation or training exercise are needed, that it has become a "light bulb" joke - How many (whatever) does it take to change a light bulb?

Readers ask:

Q. How many sets and reps of upper back exercises does it take to straighten rounded forward posture?
A. None, you just straighten up right then and hold it.
A2. Or you can say one repetition is enough. Then use that one all the time.
A3. Or until you actually use it - Note the person slouching (photo right) to measure posture.

Q. How many sets and reps of back exercises does it take before my disc pain stops that I got from bending over wrong to pick up things.
A. None if you stop bending wrong to remove the cause.
A2. A whole lot more than if you stopped bending wrong.

Q. How many sets and reps of good squats with heels down does it take to get enough stretch in the Achilles tendon to be able to squat well?
A. Doesn't matter, if you use good bending in your ordinary day, you will get hundreds of Achilles tendon stretches throughout the day and it will be built in for you. You aren't supposed to stop your day to do a number of repetitions, then go back to heel up squatting, or bending over wrong.

Q. How many sets and reps of squats does it take before I can squat right to bend right?
A. Until you do it right.

Q. How many sets and reps of your exercises on Fitness Fixer should I do?
A. Until you remember them.

Anton asks about sets and reps in the comments of Innovation in Abdominal Muscles.
Alberto (Farioreo) asked about reps, and Paul and Dave M wondered about pain returning after exercises and treatments in the comments of Fixing Upper Back and Neck Pain.
Anonymous (later, Ronald) in the comments of Fast Fitness - Quick Strength for Everything.

Coming Soon: How Many Sets And Reps Does It Take - Part II.

Got The Idea? Try: Fast Fitness - Contest: What Does It Take To Sit Upright?


Random Unrelated Fun Fitness Fixer:

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Photo of slouching while measuring posture by Neeta Lind
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About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.