Sets & Reps made simple

sets and reps made simpleI wanted to write a post about this on its own because it’s so intimidating as a beginner to get a grip on all of the “lingo”. So here is where you will find out; what a set is, what a rep is, and how to write/read them. You’ll be an expert at fitness journals

What is a Rep?
Short for repetitions, this is the amount of times you repeat the exercise in one go, a lot of different people will write their sets and reps in different ways (I would love to know how you write yours, leave me a comment) I write mine like this;
Squats 2 x 12, 30r”  = Which is simply, 2 rounds of 12 non-stop squats with 30 seconds rest in between = 24 squats total
What is a set ?
This can also be described as a round but essentially is the amount of times you repeat the group of exercises;
using the Example above:
Squats 2 x 12, 30r” is 12 squats non stop, 30 second rest, repeat 2 times.
Other ways of writing it:
Everyone is different and you will find that you will prefer a certain type of shorthand, other ways that people write it down are:
  • Sets x Reps
  • Reps x Sets
Those who are serious about body building will look at incorporating the weight into their sets and reps too i.e:
Sets X Reps X Weight
Ultimately it doesn’t matter as long as you know what your shorthand means and you are not accidentally performing them the wrong way around (i.e. 2 squats, 30 seconds rest x 12 – because that does not workout your muscles at all)
My Log it or Lose it book makes it easier for me to track workouts
My Log it or Lose it book makes it easier for me to track workouts
 *To get the log book that I use (it’s great for beginners) – you can use my amazon affiliate link: Gym Diary – A pocket sized workout log book … (Red) to purchase one – for more information on my affiliates visit the Affiliate Page*
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Fitness Friday on Drops of Learning

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Written by Charlotte

Founder at The Mummy Toolbox


  • Miranda (#)
    December 4th, 2015

    Great explanation! I remember when I started working out I could not keep these two straight. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for linking up to Fitness Friday, hope to see you back today.

  • Samantha (#)
    November 30th, 2015

    I have seen it written rep X sets. I like how you added the rest time. I haven’t done sets in reps in a long time with weights I usually tend to stick to my exercise DVD routine.

  • Anna Fraser (#)
    November 30th, 2015

    Love this. I’m a big fan of my own sets and reps (I do the Tracy Anderson Method) and love how quickly a targeted approach pays off.
    Congratulations on Losing so much weight – You look amazing!
    Anna x

  • Life Loving (#)
    November 29th, 2015

    Really useful post. I know my gym buddies still struggle with this sometimes. There can be so much to think about, a few helpful lingo tips can be so useful.

    You’re getting a head start on a healthy new year eh! I’m a big fan of insanity classes, plenty of reps and sets in that one eh!

    Sally @ Life Loving

  • Sarah (#)
    November 29th, 2015

    I am struggling so hard to get back into exercising. Your post has inspired me though and perhaps if I had a log book… it would be more organised and easier!

  • Erin Ek Rush (#)
    November 29th, 2015

    I feel so good when I work out with weights but I haven’t done it in quite awhile now! I need to get back to it – I like the sound of the diary.. I bet it’s motivating!

  • Hayley McLean (#)
    November 29th, 2015

    Great info! I’ve never thought about keeping a fitness journal but I can see how it would be really motivating x

  • Natasha Mairs (#)
    November 28th, 2015

    I haven’t been to the gym in months, and you can tell too, has I have put a bit of weight on

  • Ana De- Jesus (#)
    November 28th, 2015

    I definitely need help exercising but I have to be careful because of my back. What would you recommend.

    • Charlotte (#)
      November 28th, 2015

      I would recommend speaking to your doctor first to make sure exercising with your current back condition is the way to go ! after that there are great back support and straps that can help take the strain off of your back so you can do most normal exercise activities xx

  • Lindsay @ Newcastle Family Life (#)
    November 27th, 2015

    What a useful post as like many others I am hoping to get fitter in the new year , I am so unfit since having children it is shocking. x

  • Joanma (#)
    November 27th, 2015

    Great post. I am hoping to get fitter in the new year and plan do do squats. I like the idea of doing a log.

  • Angela Milnes (#)
    November 27th, 2015

    Thanks for this. I need to start doing some arm exercise and will follow your advice. It will tire me out but it is important to rebuild my muscles.

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