A Beginners guide to weights: Part 1

Starting a weight-training program is pretty daunting. Not only the big guys in there lifting heavy weights whilst making obscene noises, but the thought of embarrassing yourself performing an exercise incorrectly or even worse, injuring yourself.


So yeah, I get that it’s a daunting move to make, but when you do – your body will change dramatically (and so will your confidence). So let’s get you up to speed with the correct lingo!

I’ll begin with Reps, Sets, Tempo and Rest.

Reps – The amount or repetitions performed of a single exercise in any set. E.g. perform 12 reps of the squat.

Sets – The amount of times you would repeat the given amount of reps. E.g. 3 x 12 reps of the squat.

Tempo – The speed in which you should perform the exercise. You will see this in various layouts, but usually 3 digits, So I’ll keep it simple and show you this one.


3 digit example 301. In this example the 3 represents the eccentric (stretching) phase of the movement, the 0 represents the isometric (the static hold) and the 1 represents the concentric (shortening) phase of the movement.


So lets see how that translates in to an exercise, we’ll stay with the squat.

3(seconds) the sitting down/lowering section of the squat

0(seconds) how long you should hold the ‘sitting’ part of the squat

1(seconds) standing back from the seated position up to the start position.

The 3 numbers can be set to anything; 111,303, 844. This will be decided on the program design/goal but don’t worry about that too much. Just make sure you understand which each number correlates to an exercise.


Rest – The amount of time taken between each set. Be sure to time this, it’s easy to over extend rest periods! It’s also not to be used to check Facebook ?

Next up, I’m going to talk about the different variations of sets you may hear of/see.

Supersets, trip sets and giant sets.

Supersets – This is when you perform two exercises consecutively without taking a break. E.g. you perform 12 reps of the squat and then perform 12 leg extensions straight away. You take you designated rest and then repeat the set.

You may see this laid out like so on a plan:

A1 Squat

A2 Leg extensions


1A squat

1B Leg extensions.


Trip set – Pretty much exactly what it says on the tin, the exact same style as a superset but with 3 exercises performed consecutively before you take a break. It may look like this:

A1 Squat

A2 Leg Extensions

A3 Walking lunges


Giant set – This term relates to anything from 4 or more exercises performed in concession. They are performed in the exact same way you would a Trip set.

Hopefully this has cleared up some of the basic lingo for you. See it’s not that scary is it?

Part 2 will be up next week, so keep your eyes peeled 🙂

Richard Gunter

Owner – Impact Personal Training

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