Some gym goers are oblivious to how the other half trains. Find out how many reps you should REALLY do to shed fat..

Do the opposite of everyone else
It sounds like a Tony Robbins seminar, but if you want to be exceptional, look at what everybody else is doing and do the opposite. (Air punch.)

“Three sets of 10 reps has become the default setting for gym-goers, regardless of individual circumstances and goals,” says WH&F trainer Grant Lofthouse of what is commonly known as ‘the DeLorme Technique’.

The three by 10 technique was developed to rehab injured soldiers, Lofthouse explains.

“The problem with the dominant high rep training is that because you’re so weak in the final reps, the weight you can accommodate is too light to do anything,” he says. Sure, flicking those dumbbells like a windscreen wiper on caffeine pills might feel like it’s doing the job, but the reverse is true for fat loss.

So how many reps?

“If you’re not injured, you should be lifting a heavier weight six times, for five sets,” Lofthouse says. Another reason you don’t want to keep up with the Joneses in the weights room, Lofthouse says, is that choosing the right weight for your 10 rep max (the weight you can lift 10 times, but no more) is critical.

“Many people underestimate their 10RM, which is a big mistake.”


Sets and reps: 3 X 10 reps = 30

Intensity: About 70%

Weight: Lighter


Sets and reps: 5 X 6 = 30

Intensity: About 85%!

Weight: Heavier

The proof
The numbers are there. If you do decide to go for broke with a light weight, effectiveness will drop more than bath towels in the after-Chrismtas sales. “Between rep six and 12 you’ll see rep speed and power output in the concentric phase (the lifting bit) decline by as much as 31 per cent,” says Lofthouse. In a famous strength seminar DVD with kettlebell guru Pavel Tsatsouline, a lifter who went to 12 reps dropped from 92 per cent speed and power at rep one, to 69 per cent at rep 10 and 53 per cent at rep 12.

Why it works (and doesn’t add bulk)
Want an iron clad guarantee that you won’t wake up in four weeks’ time looking like a woodchopping champ? “The effects elicit specific adaptive responses by your body, which promote a beneficial, functional increase in lean muscle,” Lofthouse says. “When your body is forced to adapt to the increased demands of a heavier weight, it responds by building more contractile proteins within the muscle, which increases muscle density and muscle tone (myogenic tone).” Now you know what Bob Seger meant by Like A Rock.

Melbourne-based trainer Grant Lofthouse owns The Cardio Haters Gym and, a website offering fitness enthusiasts alternatives to cardio.

Want to lose weight? Use our handy online calculator to find out your BMI and ideal weight, then choose a workout plan.