HomeHealth & FitnessHow Many Sets and Reps Should I Do?

How Many Sets and Reps Should I Do?

If you’ve ever requested your self “Am I doing too little or too many reps and sets?” then this information is for you.

This article is a part of our Strength 101 series, and we’ll present you precisely find out how to decide the variety of repetitions and units for particular workouts, so you may construct your personal exercise routine.

It sounds straightforward, however relying in your targets, the reply to “How many reps and sets should I do?” can fluctuate drastically.

This Muppet knows strength training will help him gain muscle and lose fat.

We work hand-in-hand with our Online Coaching Clients to create the right exercise program that fits their targets, wants, and obtainable gear

In immediately’s information on exercise programing, we’ll cowl (click on every to get proper to that reply):

The Correct Number of Reps and Sets for a Workout

As Coach Jim mentions above, “Rep” stands for “repetition” and defines one full movement of an train.

And one “set” is a consecutive variety of reps with out stopping.

And one “smorgasbord” is a buffet of meals.

(This has nothing to do with this text, however it’s a enjoyable phrase to say.)

As we talked about all through our Strength Training 101 series, what number of reps and units it’s best to do is admittedly going to be dependent in your targets.

For instance, is your objective to enhance:

  • Muscular endurance
  • Muscular hypertrophy
  • Muscular energy
  • Muscular energy

Depending on what your objective is, the units, reps, and relaxation intervals will change.

Oh, you’re simply beginning your energy coaching journey?

Well, ensure you seize our free information, Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know I’ll ship it to you without cost once you be part of the Rebellion (that’s us!). 

Alright, let’s break down reps and units for you, as a result of I can see you continue to have questions.

How Many Reps Should I Do?

How many reps should this lego do?

Remember, “Rep” stands for “repetition” and is kind of one full train.

Like a push-up:

Here Rebel Leader Steve shows you the classic push-up.

So “2 sets of 5 reps of push-ups” means, “5 consecutive push-ups, a rest, then another 5 consecutive push-ups.”


If you don't know what reps and sets are, the rest of the article is going to be really confusing.


When deciding on what number of units and reps to do, it begins by asking What am I making an attempt to get out of this exercise?!

We’ll group totally different rep ranges into totally different targets, for:

  • Muscular endurance
  • Muscle dimension
  • Overall energy

I’m going to share with you the generally accepted solutions, however they ALL include a HUGE caveat that I’ll share on the finish of this text.

I’m going to start out with the “widely accepted numbers here.”

Let’s chat in regards to the following:

1) MUSCULAR ENDURANCE (long-lasting muscle)

Endurance means encouraging and coaching your muscle tissue to carry out for an prolonged time period. This means doing a LOT of repetitions. 

People focusing on muscular endurance will intention for a spread from 12 to twenty+ reps.

Obviously, you gained’t be capable of carry heavy quantities of weight for 20+ reps, so that you’ll be lifting lighter masses.

Also, since you’re focusing on endurance enhancements, you need to lower the quantity of relaxation between units: 30 seconds to a minute.[1]

If you’re a runner or bicycle owner, energy coaching with larger repetitions can assist your muscle tissue develop extra endurance as properly![2]

I wonder if this kid is biking to go squat?

Reps for elevated muscular endurance: 12+

2) MUSCLE SIZE (“sarcoplasmic hypertrophy”) 

This is for people trying to build larger muscles.

The scientific time period right here is “sarcoplasmic hypertrophy,” because it focuses on rising the quantity of sarcoplasm, the non-contractile fluid present in your muscle.

Up to 30% of your muscle’s dimension is attributed to the sarcoplasm, so specializing in one of these hypertrophy helps construct general dimension (i.e., elevated cross-sectional space of the muscle).

If you’re looking to get bigger:

  • Target a rep vary of 6 – 12 reps per set.
  • Aim for 3-5 units.
  • Rest time between units must be brief, about 60 to 90 seconds.

Reps for elevated muscle dimension: 6-12[3]

3) STRENGTH AND POWER (“myofibril hypertrophy”)

If you’re coaching for particular sports activities and simply need to get stronger with extra energy – however not essentially get greater, that is the technique for you.

This sort of coaching focuses on strengthening the myofibril, the contractile a part of the muscle, therefore the title “myofibril hypertrophy.”

For this, goal reps within the 1-5 vary. And yep, which means you’re going to be choosing up heavy weights, focusing all that concentrated effort into only one or a couple of reps.[4]

A scene from the Simpsons, someone throwing bleachers through the roof.

Something to notice when lifting for energy and energy: not solely are you stunning your muscle tissue, however you’re additionally placing quite a lot of stress in your physique’s central nervous system (CNS).

So what does this imply?

In a approach, it means your physique’s capacity to speak with its muscle tissue has grown fatigued, and efficiency might undergo.

That’s why you might need to relaxation between 2-5 minutes on this vary.

Oh, and your CNS will adapt and develop into stronger, which shall be important for constructing energy and energy.[5]

This is how powerlifters practice:

  • Low reps
  • High weight
  • Long time between units

Since powerlifting actually taxes the central nervous system, you might be ready 3-5 minutes between units when coaching on this style.

TO RECAP, these are the rep ranges you have to be contemplating:

  • Reps within the 1-5 vary construct tremendous dense muscle and energy.
  • Reps within the 6-12 vary construct equal quantities of muscular energy, energy, and dimension.
  • Reps within the 12+ vary primarily construct muscular endurance and dimension and additionally cardiovascular well being.

I understand it is a lot to determine, so if you’re someone – like me – who simply needs to be advised what to do and outsource all the fear of “am I doing the right workout for my goals?” I obtained you coated!

I’d like to study your story, and then construct a customized program that matches your targets. We’ll enable you to together with your vitamin, your exercises, and even test in commonly to maintain you accountable!

How Many Sets Should I Do?

How many sets should this lego do?

As defined above, a “set” describes a gaggle of repetitions carried out for an train with out stopping.

For instance, in the event you do 10 squats proper now, you simply did 1 SET of 10 reps of squats.

So let’s speak in regards to the “correct” variety of units per train.

The easy reply: “Do 3-5 work sets of a given exercise.”[6]

Just ensure you’re not compromising your type.

Steve Rogers doing a push-up (with bad form)

At least he’s making an attempt!

The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) will break this down, suggesting the next set ranges:[7]

  • 2-3 will assist construct muscular endurance (12 to twenty+ reps)
  • 3-6 construct muscular hypertrophy (6 to 12 reps)
  • 3-5 construct muscular energy (3 to five reps)
  • 2-6 construct muscular energy (lower than 6 reps)


FINE! Pick a weight that feels mild to you, and then do 3 units of 10 reps.

(Learn how much weight should I be lifting”).

And then subsequent time?

Do greater than final time:

  • Did 3 units of 10 reps of a 65 lb bench press? Do 3 units of 8 at 75 lbs this week!
  • Did 3 units of 5 pull-ups final week? Go for 3 units of 6 this week.

That’s the important thing to progressive overload, as Coach Jim explains on this article:

If you’re undecided if “3 sets of 10” or “5 sets of 5” is best for you, we obtained you coated.

We’ll construct a program that matches your targets, and then regulate it every month based mostly in your progress. Never guess or marvel what you have to be doing once more.

How to Build a Workout Routine!

Batman knows how many reps and sets to do.

Now that you’ve “edumacated” your self on how your particular targets affect the variety of reps per set, and what units really are, you may build your workout program round this data.

TO RECAP, intention for 3-5 units within the following rep rangers per train based mostly in your targets:

  1. Endurance: 12+ reps per set.
  2. Hypertrophy (greater muscle tissue): 6-12 reps per set.
  3. Strength (dense, highly effective muscle): 1-5 reps per set.

Two factors price mentioning:

  • A current research confirmed that heavier weight for low reps created extra muscle mass than a better quantity (decrease weight for extra reps).[8]
  • Studies present that body weight coaching workouts can construct muscle, however require a LARGE variety of units per rep, and pushing oneself to absolute failure.[9]

What this implies: research recommend focusing on heavier weight with fewer reps for giant lifts like squats and deadlifts to build muscle, whereas focusing on excessive reps to absolute failure with bodyweight exercises for muscle constructing.

Just keep in mind to relaxation sufficient between units so that you don’t fatigue your central nervous system too unhealthy.[10]

One final level: Nutrition continues to be 90% of the equation!

Your rep vary doesn’t matter practically as a lot as you suppose, so don’t overthunk it!

Don't overthink your sets and reps! Just do more than last time.

Here are some examples:

  1. If you’re making an attempt to build muscle and get greater, doing units of three or units of 5 or units of 10 will ALL enable you to get greater, if you’re eating enough to get bigger![11]
  2. If you’re trying to lose weight, it doesn’t matter in the event you do units of 15 or units of 5 if you’re persistently overeating by 1,000 energy a day. You must eat the right number of calories.[12]
  3. It doesn’t matter in the event you practice like a bodybuilder, you ALSO must eat sufficient meals to supply your muscle tissue with sufficient energy to rebuild themselves greater and stronger! This is the biggest mistake I see skinny people make when trying to bulk.

This brings me to my last level: as a result of vitamin is 90% of the equation, your units and reps don’t matter practically as a lot as you suppose they do!

All that issues? Doing MORE this exercise than the final exercise.

Remember, the way you construct muscle and energy and burn fats: “progressive overload.”

One extra rep than final time.

Even Marshall knows to go for One More each time you try your workout

Doing another set than final time.

Picking up a weight that’s 5 lbs. heavier than final week.

So get out of your personal head, and START TODAY:

1) GET HELP: If you need knowledgeable steerage and accountability so that you don’t have to determine all of these items by yourself, I obtained you. 

Click the pink button under to get the small print about our superb on-line teaching program:


Download our free Strength Training 101 Guide! You get it free once you be part of our Rebellion (the title of our superior free on-line group). Sign up within the field under:


Remember: the objective must be to get stronger every exercise.

Write down what you probably did final time, and then do MORE this time.

By frequently difficult your muscle tissue to do extra, they’ll need to adapt by getting greater, stronger, burning extra energy, and so on.

There are quite a lot of totally different truths and fallacies on plateaus and how your muscle tissue can get “used” to understanding and cease rising.

If that’s one thing you’re battling, right here’s a approach to proceed making progress:

Spend per week in a special rep vary with totally different quantities of weight.

This will introduce a bit chaos into the system, which may very well be a very good factor…until you’re Batman.

Joker knows how to bring chaos into a system.

What we’re speaking about is muscle confusion concept, which is a preplanned interval of variation.[13] Not, you understand, wandering into the gymnasium with no plan and simply doing one thing totally different each time (no matter you are feeling like doing at that second).

That gained’t assist.

But spend per week deliberating mixing it up. Then return to your commonly scheduled routine and you’ll be proper again on observe.

Make certain you understand what you need, and then design a plan to get there.


PS: If you desire a good shiny app to let you know EXACTLY what number of seps and reps to do, our shiny new app will just do that!

You can sign-up for a free 7-day trial to Nerd Fitness Journey, which can construct a exercise round your expertise degree!

Jump in proper right here:


All picture citations: Evel Knievel, Me riding a bicycle, Bicylelifter, Project Story 1/3



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