Lift Lighter Weight and Rack Up Volume with The Rep Effect Program
Boost your endurance, build lean muscle, and torch calories in Coach Tanysha Renee’s new four-week burner.
Every time you do a coach-led workout on Tonal, you’re completing a specific series of exercises in a particular order designed to maximize your results. In this series, The Why Behind the Workout, we break down the science behind a particular workout or program.
Here, we dive deep into The Rep Effect: Full-Body Pump with Tonal coach and certified personal trainer Tanysha Renee.
Who It’s For
The Rep Effect: Full-Body Pump is an intermediate-level program in which you’ll accumulate big volume with reduced weights to boost muscular endurance, build lean muscle, improve your work capacity, and torch calories in the process. The challenge is to keep pushing when the reps start piling up. That’s why Renee describes the program as “intermediate-plus,” adding, “It’s for someone that wants all the heavy volume, just not the heavy loads.”
Consider the program a four-week comprehensive version of a couple of Tonal’s top-rated workouts, The Rep Effect and The Rep Effect: More Core.
As the name suggests, each session is built on repetition, which Renee explains makes it especially beneficial for new Tonal members who are still getting acclimated to adjust Tonal’s arms. For a more experienced lifter, The Rep Effect: Full-Body Pump is an opportunity to rack up time under tension while perfecting your technique and training for muscle endurance.
The primary aim of this four-week, high-intensity program is improving your ability to handle increased workloads so that you can continue improving endurance and building muscle.
To make the massive amount of volume lifted achievable, the suggested weights in this program are reduced. Besides helping you lift longer to build more stamina, some research has even shown that lifting lighter weights for more reps can be just as effective for strength-building as lifting heavy for fewer reps.
The science tells us that lifting lighter weights for more reps, as opposed to pushing heavy weights for fewer reps, can burn a lot more calories. One study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research proved as much by following a group of men performing bench presses with either more weight and fewer reps or lighter weight and high reps. The group performing more reps burned nearly twice as many calories as the group that lifted heavier with few repetitions.
Plus, other research showed muscle mass and size gain are virtually the same with both strategies during an experiment that followed two groups of experienced lifters in which one group lifted heavy for low reps and another went for more reps and light weight, implying that you’re likely not sacrificing any gains by pumping out more reps with lighter weight either.
“There’s also a movement competency element as well because it’s really about your willingness to push yourself,” says Troy Taylor, Senior Director of Performance at Tonal. “You’re going to get really tired and your body is going to tell you to stop and it’s your job to override that. It’s going to hurt. But it’s a mental and physical challenge to sustain the effort.”
How It Works
In The Rep Effect program, you’ll complete three sweat-filled, full-body workouts each week for four weeks. Each session is full of action–and not much rest. You’ll hit four different body parts or movement patterns in each individual block, exhausting one group of muscles before targeting the next.
This program is all about accumulating as much time under tension (TUT) as possible. Typically, this will be approximately between six and eight minutes of TUT per block. Time under tension is defined by the amount of time that your muscles are under load (or resistance). For example, the first workout of week one begins with a squat-focused block that starts with a racked squat before challenging your quads again with racked offset squats, mini sumo squats, jump squats, and then bodyweight squats.
Here’s how each week breaks down:
- One session is dedicated to squat patterns, as well as exercises that target your chest and biceps.
- Another practices hinging patterns before attacking your triceps, back, and chest.
- The third workout moves through lunge variations and addresses your shoulders, arms, and back.
Every session will also include elements that challenge your core stability, and utilizes duration-based sets that challenge you to squeeze out as many reps as you can in a given time period.
You’ll cycle through the workouts in a different order each week. The variation keeps you engaged while allowing your taxed muscles time to recover.
“It’s like anything else you do,” Renee explains. “You might like spaghetti and decide to eat it on Monday but you don’t have to eat spaghetti every Monday. Mixing things up keeps it fresh, but it will also feel familiar so you can show up with confidence.”
This foundational movement front loads the resistance and puts an emphasis on building your quads. It also helps you practice keeping your chest upright and engaging your core, which is essential in the other squat variations that will follow.
While this total-body functional lift is primarily a hip hinge that targets your posterior chain, it also puts considerable demand on your core’s stabilizing muscles as you lift the load from one side. It’s a perfect reminder to maintain solid technique as you push through a series of four hinging variations in a row.
Overhead Tricep Extension
The all-triceps isolation block will be a muscle-burner and this exercise comes at the end of a taxing three-movement series. This particular variation targets the long head of your triceps while promoting shoulder mobility.
Emphasize slowing down the tempo in this movement to target your side delts and traps. Pacing helps increase the time under tension, leading to more muscle growth.
20-in-20: Fire Circuits
Apply your new stamina to this series of intense all-out sessions that ignite your metabolism. These quick full-body circuits will leave you breathless and feeling the burn.
Power Hour 2
Tackle another round of full-body workouts with this program that offers everything from compound barbell moves to intentional strength training sets to endurance challenges that pit you against the clock.
HIIT Your Max
After four weeks of high-volume work, mix up your training with a heart-pumping program that features explosive plyometrics, compound lifts, and more cardio moves that test your endurance.
Once you’ve conquered a light-weight, high-rep program, step up to this advanced two-week program that alternates between strength and HIIT workouts. These sessions incorporate technical movements, core stability work and conditioning schemes that leave you fighting for your breath.