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Timed Sets VS Rep Sets

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Timed sets and rep based sets, both are recognized as a very important part of physical training exercises. Timed sets are referred to a certain time limit; where rep based sets don’t have these certain limitations. An example of timed sets would be 45 seconds of work followed by 15 seconds of rest. Rep based sets would be a prescribed number of reps that you complete like 10 for example.

Which is better you might ask?

Well, it vastly depends on what YOUR specific goals are. Being a head coach and talking with the majority of our members the common theme between them is the same. I want to drop weight, lose inches, tone up and build some muscle. Great goals and 100% attainable.

In CrossFit, we have a WOD or workout of the day that every single person completes. The workouts can be modified if needed to accommodate certain individuals with limitations, if they are a beginner or advanced. I think that is a beautiful thing with CrossFit. However, let’s say that we had a workout of 5 rounds of 7KB thrusters, 7KB cleans, and 7 burpees… Seems like a good workout right? I’d agree. But what if those rep based sets weren’t enough to elicit a response from a few people in the class? What if they didn’t expend the calories they needed to expend in order to achieve their weight-loss goals? What if they needed more reps to reach their goal? What if it just flat out wasn’t enough for them? Is it fair to that person who is paying you X amount of dollars per month to not reach their goals?.. I’d say no it’s not. EVERY single person should be able to reach their goals and it’s OUR job to make sure it happens.

So, how can we make this so?

I personally believe that timed sets are a great answer to this problem. If we do the same workout as mentioned above but instead of prescribing the set amount of reps for them we leave it to the individual because ultimately they now what they need better than anybody else in the room. Nobody knows you better than you.

Let’s take that same workout of 5 rounds of 7KB thrusters, 7KB cleans and 7 burpees and lets turn it into 15 minutes of continuous work of 45 seconds of work; 15 sec rest to transition into the next movement. So you would do 45 seconds of KB thrusters, rest 15 seconds before switching to the KB cleans for 45 seconds, rest 15 seconds and switch to the burpees and repeat this for the 15 minutes. You still end up with 5 rounds BUT the gamechanger is that people are not limited here with a rep count.

What are your goals? Something to consider or think about the next time you step into your box.