How Many Sets and Reps Should I Do? | Nerd Fitness

If this plot asked how many reps and sets should he do, what would you tell him?
If you’ve ever asked yourself “Am I doing too little or too many reps and sets?” then this guide is for you.
This article is function of our Strength 101 series, and we ’ ll show you precisely how to determine the number of repetitions and sets for specific exercises, so you can build your own exercise act .
It sounds easy, but depending on your goals, the answer to “How many reps and sets should I do?” can vary greatly.

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 suits their goals, needs, and available equipment

In today’s guide on workout programing, we’ll cover (click each to get right to that answer):

The Correct Number of Reps and Sets for a Workout

As Coach Jim mentions above, “Rep” stands for “repetition” and defines one complete motion of an exercise.
And one “ set ” is a straight number of reps without stopping .
And one “ smorgasbord ” is a buffet of food .
( This has nothing to do with this article, but it ’ s a fun give voice to say. )
As we mentioned throughout our Strength Training 101 series, how many reps and sets you should do is really going to be dependent on your goals.
For example, is your finish to improve :

  • muscular survival
  • mesomorphic hypertrophy
  • muscular force
  • muscular ability

Depending on what your goal is, the sets, reps, and rest intervals will change .
Oh, you ’ re barely starting your forte training travel ?
Well, make sure you grab our free guide, Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know.  I’ll send it to you for free when you join the Rebellion (that’s us!). 

Download our comprehensive guide


  • Everything you need to know about getting strong.
  • Workout routines for bodyweight AND weight training.
  • How to find the right gym and train properly in one.

Alright, let ’ s break down reps and sets for you, because I can see you still have questions .

How Many Reps Should I Do?

How many reps should this lego do?
Remember, “Rep” stands for “repetition” and is more or less one complete exercise.
Like a push-up :
Here Rebel Leader Steve shows you the classic push-up.
then “ 2 sets of 5 reps of push-ups ” means, “ 5 back-to-back push-ups, a rest, then another 5 back-to-back push-ups. ”
Cool ?
If you don't know what reps and sets are, the rest of the article is going to be really confusing.
Cool .
When deciding on how many sets and reps to do, it begins by asking “What am I trying to get out of this workout?!“
We’ll group different rep ranges into different goals, for:

  • muscular survival
  • muscle size
  • overall strength

I ’ thousand going to share with you the normally accept answers, but they ALL come with a HUGE caveat that I ’ ll parcel at the end of this article .
I ’ m going to start with the “ wide accepted numbers here. ”
Let’s chat about the following:

1) MUSCULAR ENDURANCE (long-lasting muscle)

Endurance means encouraging and training your muscles to perform for an extended period of time. This means doing a LOT of repetitions .
People targeting muscular survival will aim for a range from 12 to 20+ reps .
obviously, you won ’ thymine be able to lift heavy amounts of weight for 20+ reps, so you ’ ll be lifting lighter loads .
besides, because you ’ re targeting survival improvements, you want to decrease the come of rest between sets : 30 seconds to a minute. [ 1 ]
If you are a runner or cyclist, lastingness aim with higher repetitions can help your muscles develop more endurance a well ! [ 2 ]
I wonder if this kid is biking to go squat?
Reps for increased muscular endurance: 12+

2 ) brawn SIZE ( “ sarcoplasmic hypertrophy ” ) 

This is for folks looking to build larger muscles.
The scientific terminus here is “ sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, ” as it focuses on increasing the sum of sarcoplasm, the non-contractile fluid found in your muscle .
up to 30 % of your muscle ’ mho size is attributed to the sarcoplasm, thus focusing on this type of hypertrophy helps build overall size (i.e., increased cross-sectional area of the muscle).
If you’re looking to get bigger:

  • Target a rep range of 6 – 12 reps per set.
  • Aim for 3-5 sets.
  • Rest time between sets should be short, about 60 to 90 seconds.

Reps for increased muscle size: 6-12 [ 3 ]

3) STRENGTH AND POWER (“myofibril hypertrophy”)

If you ’ ra educate for specific sports and fair want to get stronger with more world power – but not necessarily get bigger, this is the strategy for you .
This type of trail focuses on strengthening the myofibril, the contractile share of the muscle, hence the name “ myofibril hypertrophy. ”
For this, target reps in the 1-5 range. And yep, that means you ’ re going to be picking up fleshy weights, focusing all that concentrated effort into fair one or a few reps. [ 4 ]
A scene from the Simpsons, someone throwing bleachers through the roof.
Something to note when lifting for strength and power: not only are you shocking your muscles, but you ’ re besides putting a draw of pressure on your body ’ mho cardinal aflutter system ( CNS ) .
so what does this base ?
In a way, it means your body ’ mho ability to communicate with its muscles has grown fatigued, and performance may suffer .
That ’ second why you may want to rest between 2-5 minutes in this compass .
Oh, and your CNS will adapt and become stronger, which will be critical for build persuasiveness and might. [ 5 ]
This is how powerlifters train:

  • Low reps
  • High weight
  • Long time between sets

Since powerlifting truly taxes the central aflutter system, you may be waiting 3-5 minutes between sets when coach in this fashion .
TO RECAP, these are the rep ranges you should be considering:

  • Reps in the 1-5 range build super dense muscle and strength.
  • Reps in the 6-12 range build equal amounts of muscular power, strength, and size.
  • Reps in the 12+ range primarily build muscular endurance and size and also cardiovascular health.

I realize this is a batch to figure out, indeed if you are person – like me – who merely wants to be told what to do and outsource all the worry of “ am I doing the right exercise for my goals ? ” I got you covered !
I’d love to learn your story, and then build a custom program that fits your goals. We ’ ll avail you with your nutrition, your workouts, and even check in regularly to keep you accountable !

How Many Sets Should I Do?

How many sets should this lego do?

As explained above, a “set” describes a group of repetitions performed for an exercise without stopping.
For model, if you do 10 squats right now, you equitable did 1 SET of 10 reps of squats .
so lease ’ s talk about the “ adjust ” total of sets per exercise .
The simple answer: “Do 3-5 work sets of a given exercise.” [ 6 ]
barely make certain you ’ re not compromising your shape .
Steve Rogers doing a push-up (with bad form)
At least he ’ second trying !
The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) will break this down, suggesting the following set ranges: [ 7 ]

  • 2-3 will help build muscular survival ( 12 to 20+ reps )
  • 3-6 human body muscular hypertrophy ( 6 to 12 reps )
  • 3-5 build muscular power ( 3 to 5 reps )
  • 2-6 build muscular lastingness ( less than 6 reps )

fine ! Pick a burden that feels light up to you, and then do 3 sets of 10 reps .
( Learn how much weight should I be lifting ” ) .
And then next time ?
Do more than last time:

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

That’s the key to progressive overload, as Coach Jim explains in this article:

If you’re not sure if “3 sets of 10” or “5 sets of 5” is right for you, we got you covered.
We ’ ll build a program that fits your goals, and then adjust it each month based on your progress. Never guess or wonder what you should be doing again .

How to Build a Workout Routine!

Batman knows how many reps and sets to do.
Now that you have “edumacated” yourself on how your specific goals influence the number of reps per set, and what sets actually are, you can build your workout program around this info.
TO RECAP, aim for 3-5 sets in the following rep rangers per exercise based on your goals:

  1. Endurance: 12+ reps per set.
  2. Hypertrophy (bigger muscles): 6-12 reps per set.
  3. Strength (dense, powerful muscle): 1-5 reps per set.

Two points worth mentioning:

  • A recent study showed that heavier weight for low reps created more muscleman mass than a higher volume (lower weight for more reps).[8]
  • Studies show that bodyweight training exercises can build muscle, but require a LARGE number of sets per rep, and pushing oneself to absolute failure.[9]

What this means: studies suggest targeting heavier weight with fewer reps for big lifts like squats and deadlifts to build muscle, while targeting senior high school reps to absolute failure with bodyweight exercises for brawn build .
equitable remember to rest enough between sets then you don ’ thymine fatigue your cardinal anxious system besides bad. [ 10 ]
One last point: Nutrition is still 90% of the equation!
Your rep compass doesn ’ metric ton matter closely ampere much as you think, so don ’ t overthunk it !
Don't overthink your sets and reps! Just do more than last time.
Here are some examples:
This brings me to my final point: because nutrition is 90 % of the equation, your sets and reps don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate matter closely angstrom much as you think they do !
All that matters ? Doing MORE this exercise than the last exercise .
Remember, how you build muscle and intensity and burn fat : “ progressive overload. ”
One more rep than last time .
Even Marshall knows to go for One More each time you try your workout
Doing one more rig than concluding time .
Picking up a burden that ’ second 5 pound. heavier than stopping point workweek .
So get out of your own head, and START TODAY:
1) GET HELP: If you want expert guidance and accountability so you don’t have to figure out all of this stuff on your own, I got you. 
Click the red button below to get the details about our amazing on-line coaching plan :

Download our dislodge Strength Training 101 Guide ! You get it free when you join our rebellion ( the name of our amazing free on-line community ). Sign up in the box below :

Download our comprehensive guide


  • Everything you need to know about getting strong.
  • Workout routines for bodyweight AND weight training.
  • How to find the right gym and train properly in one.


  • New to strength training? Read our entire Strength 101 series.
  • Starting barbell training? Go to our “beginner weight training” workouts.
  • BRAND new to any training? Start with this bodyweight routine, and aim for 3 sets of 10. Work on your form!

Remember: the goal should be to get stronger each workout.
Write down what you did last time, and then do MORE this fourth dimension .
By continually challenging your muscles to do more, they ’ ll have to adapt by getting bigger, stronger, burning more calories, etc .
There are a lot of unlike truths and fallacies on tableland and how your muscles can get “ used ” to working out and stop grow .
If that’s something you’re battling, here’s a way to continue making progress:

Spend a week in a different rep crop with different amounts of weight unit .

This will introduce a little chaos into the arrangement, which could be a good thing…unless you ’ re Batman .
Joker knows how to bring chaos into a system.
What we’re talking about is muscle confusion theory, which is a preplanned period of variation. [ 13 ] not, you know, wandering into the gymnasium with no plan and merely doing something different every fourth dimension ( whatever you feel like doing at that moment ) .
That won ’ triiodothyronine help .
But spend a week deliberating mixing it up. then go back to your regularly scheduled routine and you ’ ll be right back on track .
Make certain you know what you want, and then design a plan to get there .
PS:  If you want a nice glazed app to tell you EXACTLY how many seps and reps to do, our glazed fresh app will do barely that !
You can sign-up for a free 7-day trial to Nerd Fitness Journey, which will build a workout around your experience level!
jump in correctly here :

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

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Category : Tutorial

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