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The most important workout that will add muscle and lose fat now

Written by: Nick Jack
Category: 2014
on 08 April 2014
Hits: 4786

The Best Workouts for Adding Muscle and Losing Fat is one that is designed Specifically For YOU!

We have featured many articles about how to consider posture, flexibility, stability and your ability to complete movements correctly. So with this article we are going to explain what type of Sets, Reps, Tempo and Rest are best to use for achieving your goal so you fully understand why your trainer structures your program in a certain way. A great Strength Training workout that gets results is more than just doing 3 sets of 10 reps. There are many things that must be considered to ensure you are choosing the right type of method and intensity to reach your goal. Quite often people are doing the exact same type of method every workout yet expecting different results. The first thing most people think of doing to make a workout harder or an exercise more challenging is add more weight. But there is so much more you can do than just change the load. And in many cases this may mean you are not going to be training the right way to achieve the goal of the workout! So in this article I hope to share with you the secrets to choosing the right method and gaining a better understanding of sets and reps.


Recently I have explained to a few people who are very new to doing weight training that it takes at least 2 years of consistent weight training for your body to fully develop the necessary skills and ability to acquire significant strength results. This is referred to as a “Training Age”. 1-2 years of experience we classify as an adolescent, and 0-1 we classify as a toddler or baby. You see before you can fully develop strength you must have gone through the phase of learning the essential movements and skills needed to lift heavy objects safely. This means you must learn several abilities and learn them REALLY well, otherwise risk injury. Abilities like knowing how to achieve optimal flexibility, how to breathe correctly, what is ideal posture for lifting, how to use your abdominals for stabilisation, how to co-ordinate arms and legs together in perfect timing, how to balance correctly and automatically are just some of the things that must be covered off before trying to execute a more advanced weight training method. So if you are in the early phases of learning how to complete a Functional Strength Training workout you will be wise to keep your loads light, complete higher repetitions and aim for good form.

Carefully choose reps, sets, tempo, intensity and rest periods.

The most important variable is the number of reps completed. The amount of reps you use in your workout is a major factor when balancing a program to prevent injury and has a direct effect on both muscle size and strength development.

Key points to consider when selecting what number of reps you want to use are:

  • As you increase the number of reps in an exercise, the number of sets must decrease and vice versa. For example reps of 15 would only need 2 sets whereas reps of 3-4 would need 5-6 sets.
  • It must be noted that Sets of 1-3 reps put great stress on your body, especially the nervous system and joints. This training is best used for short periods (1-3 weeks) and only if your technique is excellent. Your body needs extra time to recover from this type of training, otherwise you will experience adrenal depletion. Bones, joints, and other connective tissues are also heavily stressed with high intensity training like this and may be injured with over exposure to intense loads. This is often the mistake of the young male wanting to get big too quick.

How Many Sets?

In order to maintain the quality of your workout, no more than 30-36 sets per workout should be performed. Better results are achieved if the total number of sets is kept under 20-25. During the first few weeks of training, less training volume (1-2 sets) will bring about ample improvement in performance because huge changes are made from your brain and nervous system. It generally takes 6-8 weeks of training before more sets are needed. Here is how I break up my programs for most people

1. Movement Skills Program - Your first year of training should be devoted to training with 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps as your focus is on developing movement skills and techniques to lunge, squat, bend, twist, push, pull correctly. Quality over rides quantity in this phase. Also learning how to use equipment and allowing for muscle fatigue is a factor here. Learning how to Squat, Lunge, Push, Pull, Bend and Twist is very important as these key movements set everything up for you.

2. Posture & Stability Program -If training to improve stability, balance or postural correction, higher repetitions with less sets is best. Eg 2 sets x 10-15 reps. This is because your body needs time to adapt to the exercise, not load. Example is the Cobra exercise that needs 3 minutes of time under tension for it to have any effect on the Postural muscles. Postural muscles will only respond to time, not load so if you want to make changes to someone always use lots of isometric holding and aim to hit 3 minutes. As for what reps to use when learning balance and stability exercises it is better to use sets of 10-15 reps as you are highly likely to make mistakes. So by keeping the intensity low it remains safe but most important easier to learn. Check out our article on Why Posture Is So Important

3. Sports Specific - If training for sport that require speed and power is your program goal then you are best to use multiple sets of less reps and high intensity. Eg 4-6 sets x 6-8 reps. This type of training is great for medicine ball training, plyometrics and sprinting. I like to use Complex training for sports which is where you combine a strength exercise with a sports specific power movement. For example, bench press with barbell squat press. Check out the article we did on functional alternatives to the bench press for exercise ideas. We have worked with many elite athletes from sports such as Basketball, Football, Hockey and even Surfing. The skills and abilities they require differ greatly, as does the length of time it requires for their sport to be completed. These are all important factors in determining what to do and how to structure your training. Read our detailed article The 8 Must Have's For Sports Training to find out more.

Watch the videos to see some ideas of a sports specific workout.

4. Muscle Size - If you are a male and want to get bigger muscles, or a female who wants to tone up increased repetitions (8-12reps) will usually produce the best results. There are many different workout methods you can use here. I would check out some of the videos below to get some ideas. The key to this is achieving lots of time under tension. Supersets, Tri-Sets, Drop Sets and Giant Sets are great for achieving this goal. It is with these methods that we find are the Best Workouts for adding muscle and losing fat

Watch the videos below of some advance methods.

5. Maximal Strength - If you want to achieve strength is a concern you should train very heavy in a 1-5 repetitions range. As mentioned earlier this is a very risky phase to work in and should only be done with a spotter and if your technique is perfect. Some great gains can be made with this type of training. One of my favourite methods is wave loading and I changed significantly one year by using this. An example of a wave method we used was 5/4/3/5/4/3 reps with a 90 second rest between sets!


For you to choose the right method you MUST have defined a goal of the program. Or what is the objective of the program. Only once you know what that is can you then choose the relevant sets, reps and tempo. Don’t underestimate the rest period as by changing that to no rest or only 30 seconds versus 2 minute rest it can completely change your workout, which in turn brings adaptation. Which for many people is what their program is lacking and why they fail to get results.

So whether you want to build muscle, increase strength for sport, rehab an injury or lose a bit body fat it helps to know what is the right type of program method to use, otherwise you will not get the results you are looking for.

If you would like to know more about how to train correctly and would like a Free Consultation fill in the form below and I will be in touch within 24 hours to schedule a time.