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Timed sets refers to a method of physical training in which as many repetitions as possible of a given exercise are performed in a specified period of time.[1] After an appropriate period of rest, a second, third, and so on, set of that exercise is done in an equal or lesser time period. The exercise period, recovery period, and the number of sets done should be selected to make sure that an overload of the involved muscle groups occurs.

The use of timed sets, unlike exercises performed in cadence or for a specific number of repetitions, helps to ensure that each soldier does as many repetitions of an exercise as possible within a period of time. It does not hold back the more capable performer by restricting the number of repetitions he may do. Instead, soldiers at all levels of fitness can individually do the number of repetitions they are capable of and thereby be sure they obtain an adequate training stimulus.

In this FM, timed sets will be applied to improving soldier's sit-up and push-up performance. (See Figures 3-2 and 3-3. ) Many different but equally valid approaches can be taken when using timed sets to improve push-up and sit-up performance. Below, several of these will be given.

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  1. (1992). FM 21-20 Ch.1, Physical fitness training.. Department of the Army.