What do you need to know about the reps?

Although it is basic, learned, or even instinctively performed, it has the most important role in muscle building, because every month the trainer performs hundreds or even thousands of repetitions.

It is important to understand its essence, its phases and the different types of accents so that your workout can be complete and bring you the desired results.

The most important thing about the repeat is to perform it precisely and correctly according to the specific needs. Repeating is a process running in several phases, one repetition being the complete folding and unfolding of a muscle.

Phases of reps

Knowing the phases of repetition will enable us to successfully monitor and manage the process and the mistakes in it.

Most often the repetition is divided into three phases:

The positive part of the repeat (concentric phase)

The positive part of the repeat is the lifting of the weight. With it, the muscle fibers abate, trying to move the bones in the right way. When lifting from a leg it is the moment when the lever is almost in your chest and you push the bar upwards, at the dead thrust you try to lift the bar from the ground or when standing up.

The very effort to pull or push the weight is the positive part of the repeat. It is in this part that you exhale the retained air, but the subject of proper breathing will be discussed in another article.

The greater the load (load), the greater the engagement of the muscle fiber decreasing, respectively, and the effect on growth due to micro-breaks is greater, this also directly affects the force. For the concentric phase, the most important is the relationship between brain and muscle and concentration in performance.

The speed of implementation of the positive part varies depending on your goals. Running at normal speed and under voltage engages the nervous system and is recommended for strength training and leads to forceful sobriety, while explosive phase performance is more for power, but the most important thing here is to maintain proper movement and resilience, and do not perform movements at an inappropriate speed to avoid injuries.

In this phase, there is the so-called "dead point" that is the point where the repetition is felt to be the most difficult moment of movement. The exact "location" of the dead point depends on the specific genetics of the trainer, the length of the muscles, the bones, etc. peculiarities.

Dead Point is primarily an interest for professionals because it is believed that its successful overcome makes the repetition perfect.


Reps phase at or at peak point (peak contraction phase)

The peak contraction phase is the time when the muscles directly affected by the exercise are as tight as possible.

At this point, a large part of the load is absorbed by the bones and joints and the lifting position looks the most stable (this does not apply to all exercises). Delayed muscle restraint creates incentives to increase the number of active muscle fibers in the next iteration.

This increases the muscle tone within and after the series. Holding within 2-3 seconds of repetition does not practically affect the power consumption.

For strength training, a longer pause may be allowed here to minimize fatigue and stress on the nervous system, the skeleton, and the joints, accustomed to weight as a normal load, discontinuing overloads to the spinal cord, and give the libertarian more freedom.

The negative part of the repeat (Eccentric phase)

The negative part is the phase of relaxation of the muscle with the weight. This phase is as important to muscle growth as the concentric phase but is often underestimated. With it, the nervous system excludes a large number of fibers in the musculature and the rest remain active in passive flexion to relax the joint to its natural position under the influence of gravity.

For both force and training for hypertrophy, it is important that this phase is not performed quickly because the effect of good stress on it is positive on both muscle fibers and their growth and on the nervous system and strength as in the build-up of muscle mass this part of the repetition plays a more significant role.

Increasing the duration of the negative part is applied at the end of the series as a method of additional energy expenditure, increased muscle tone and maximum blood filling.

Retention point before the rest phase

If you stop relaxing your muscles and leave them tight, but close to the rest, you will further increase the muscular tone and the stimuli for blood filling of the active muscles.

If you stop abruptly in it and start a new repeat lightning fast, the tight muscle will allow you to generate a starting force as a result of your elasticity.

Rest phase between repetitions (final phase)

At this stage of movement, the muscles rest and stretch. The fibers lose elasticity, the nervous system relaxes. The blood carries a fraction of the lactic acid and the ability of the muscles to perform a new repeat increases.

As a final phase, we can add the muscle stretch phase, and in order to be able to see this phase as effective, it is avoided the support action, such as relaxing the bar on the chest at bedtime.

In this particular stretch, the muscle is in the maximum stretched state and its ability to engage a large number of motor fibers is reduced. Thus effective muscle tissue loading is limited to some key points.


The eight main factors in the repetition:

Speed (pace) - A slower performance leads to a better expansion of the physiological potential of the muscles and the nervous system, explosivity is applied in specific methodologies and can also be successful, but good technique is required for its application.

Focus and consciousness - the strong psyche and the skill to create a proper attitude are very important to the success

Range / Amplitude of traffic - according to the objectives, the amplitude of the movement can be shortened or complete. For example, a horizontal slit with a narrow triceps grip would have a big effect if you drop the bar to the chest and the weave shortens the amplitude of the movement.


Negative and positive part:

Continuous strain - Keep your muscles in constant tension

Cheating - Not always and everywhere, but it can be useful in certain exercises depending on goals.

Reaching failure and pumping repetitions - sometimes repetition to failure can bring you many benefits. This type of stress strengthens hypertrophy and promotes the appearance of metabolites after a workout such as lactic acid.

Pain - Bodybuilders say they like the pain that pain has done them what they are. The pain is due to irritation affecting the nerve and it can be dangerous because it can mean overloading the nervous system. But the different type of stress brings benefits to the trainer.


Sometimes the key to success lies in the little things.
It is such a small part, but with a great final impact is the repetition.