Okay, okay, I’m feeling super extra nice tonight. Here’s a breakdown:
Let’s break it down using Monday’s workout on the Intermediate program. Here’s what it says:
Total reps: 20 per exercise
Rest: 30 seconds between each set
Load: Heavy (4-5 RM)
Okay, the load is supposed to be heavy, so choose a weight that allows you to only get 4 or 5 reps on the first set. This should be a max, as in you can’t get 6 reps. Now, rest 30 seconds.
Then, using that same weight you used on the first set, do another set. You may only get 3 or 4 reps this time. That’s okay. In fact, the number of sets doesn’t matter, as long as you get 20 total reps for that exercise. Once you do, move to the next exercise.
So your sets might look like this as you work toward the 20 rep total on heavy day:
Set #1: 5 reps
Set #2: 4 reps
Set #3: 4 reps
Set #4: 3 reps
Set #5: 2 reps
Set #6: 1 rep
Set #7: 1 rep
That comes to 20 reps. If that takes you six sets, fine. If it takes you eight sets, fine. As long as you get your load right on the first set, you’re good to go.
Just remember to follow the rest period guidelines (note they’re pretty short), the tempo guidelines (lift fast) the weekly progressions (shorten the rest periods.)