Posted by: PFB
Q: I've read various resources and I'm still unclear in regards to what the best repetition for each exercise would be. Is there a way to determine the optimal number of repetitions for an exercise?
A: We know that the one constant in strength training is variation - success is achieved by constantly varying your rep bracket which is dictated by load. However, there is a technique that I picked up from Dr. Ken Kinakin. Let's take the lateral raise exercise as an example. Have your client extend their arm out to the side to contract the (medial deltoid) muscle. Now, in short even bursts, apply passive resistance downwards against their wrist. Count the number of reps before their form breaks down or they can no longer resist - this will determine the optimal number of repetitions for this exercise. So, if their arm starts to drop at the 6th rep, give them sets of 5 for this exercise. Along the same lines, Dr. Kinakin suggests using an isometric test just prior to a set to gauge recovery. Others have recommended the use of hand dynanometer, for instance, just before a workout to determine if you have fully recovered but we'll save that discussion for another day.