If this plot asked how many reps and sets should he do, what would you tell him?

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

This text is a part of our Power 101 sequence, 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 simple, however relying in your objectives, the reply to “What number of reps and units ought to I do?” can range significantly.

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

We work hand-in-hand with our On-line Teaching Shoppers to create the proper exercise program that fits their objectives, wants, and obtainable gear

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

The Right Variety of Reps and Units for a Exercise

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 Power Coaching 101 sequence, what number of reps and units you must do is de facto going to be dependent in your objectives.

For instance, is your objective to enhance:

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

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

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

Properly, be sure to seize our free information, Power Coaching 101: All the things You Have to Know I’ll ship it to you free of charge while you be a part of the Riot (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 Ought to I Do?

How many reps should this lego do?

Keep in mind, “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 units of 5 reps of push-ups” means, “5 consecutive push-ups, a relaxation, then one other 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 completely different rep ranges into completely different objectives, for:

  • Muscular endurance
  • Muscle dimension
  • General power

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 “broadly accepted numbers right here.”

Let’s chat in regards to the following:

1) MUSCULAR ENDURANCE (long-lasting muscle)

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

Individuals focusing on muscular endurance will purpose for a spread from 12 to twenty+ reps.

Clearly, you gained’t have the ability to elevate heavy quantities of weight for 20+ reps, so that you’ll be lifting lighter hundreds.

Additionally, 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 bike owner, power coaching with increased repetitions will help your muscular tissues 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”) 

That is for folk seeking to construct bigger muscular tissues.

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.

As much as 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).

In case you’re seeking to get greater:

  • Goal a rep vary of 6 – 12 reps per set.
  • Goal for 3-5 units.
  • Relaxation time between units needs to be quick, about 60 to 90 seconds.

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

3) STRENGTH AND POWER (“myofibril hypertrophy”)

In case 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 kind 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, meaning you’re going to be selecting up heavy weights, focusing all that concentrated effort into only one or a number of reps.[4]

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

One thing to notice when lifting for power and energy: not solely are you surprising your muscular tissues, however you’re additionally placing plenty of strain in your physique’s central nervous system (CNS).

So what does this imply?

In a method, it means your physique’s capacity to speak with its muscular tissues 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 might be crucial for constructing power and energy.[5]

That is how powerlifters practice:

  • Low reps
  • Excessive weight
  • Very 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 vogue.

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

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

I notice this can be a lot to determine, so if you’re anyone – like me – who simply desires to be informed what to do and outsource all the concern of “am I doing the suitable exercise for my objectives?” I acquired you lined!

I’d like to study your story, after which construct a customized program that matches your objectives. We’ll make it easier to together with your vitamin, your exercises, and even verify in recurrently to maintain you accountable!

How Many Units Ought to I Do?

How many sets should this lego do?

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

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

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

The straightforward reply: “Do 3-5 work units of a given train.”[6]

Simply be sure to’re not compromising your type.

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

A minimum of he’s making an attempt!

The Nationwide Power and Conditioning Affiliation (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 power (lower than 6 reps)


FINE! Choose a weight that feels gentle to you, after which do 3 units of 10 reps.

(Be taught how a lot weight ought to I be lifting”).

After which 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:

In case you’re undecided if “3 units of 10” or “5 units of 5” is best for you, we acquired you lined.

We’ll construct a program that matches your objectives, after which alter it every month based mostly in your progress. By no means guess or marvel what try to be doing once more.

Easy methods to Construct a Exercise Routine!

Batman knows how many reps and sets to do.

Now that you’ve got “edumacated” your self on how your particular objectives affect the variety of reps per set, and what units truly are, you may construct your exercise program round this data.

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

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

Two factors value mentioning:

  • A latest examine confirmed that heavier weight for low reps created extra muscle mass than the next quantity (decrease weight for extra reps).[8]
  • Research 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 large lifts like squats and deadlifts to construct muscle, whereas focusing on excessive reps to absolute failure with body weight workouts for muscle constructing.

Simply bear in mind to relaxation sufficient between units so that you don’t fatigue your central nervous system too dangerous.[10]

One final level: Vitamin remains to be 90% of the equation!

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

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

Listed below are some examples:

  1. In case you’re making an attempt to construct muscle and get greater, doing units of three or units of 5 or units of 10 will ALL make it easier to get greater, if you’re consuming sufficient to get greater![11]
  2. In case you’re making an attempt to shed pounds, it doesn’t matter when you do units of 15 or units of 5 if you’re persistently overeating by 1,000 energy a day. You might want to eat the suitable variety of energy.[12]
  3. It doesn’t matter when you practice like a bodybuilder, you ALSO must eat sufficient meals to offer your muscular tissues with sufficient energy to rebuild themselves greater and stronger! That is the greatest mistake I see skinny folks make when making an attempt 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 almost as a lot as you suppose they do!

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

Keep in mind, the way you construct muscle and power and burn fats: “progressive overload.”

Yet one more rep than final time.

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

Doing another set than final time.

Selecting 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’d like professional steering and accountability so that you don’t have to determine all of these things by yourself, I acquired you. 

Click on the crimson button beneath to get the main points about our superb on-line teaching program:


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Keep in mind: the objective needs to be to get stronger every exercise.

Write down what you probably did final time, after which do MORE this time.

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

There are plenty of completely different truths and fallacies on plateaus and the way your muscular tissues can get “used” to understanding and cease rising.

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

Spend per week in a distinct rep vary with completely different quantities of weight.

It will introduce just a little chaos into the system, which could possibly be a great factor…except you’re Batman.

Joker knows how to bring chaos into a system.

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

That gained’t assist.

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

Ensure you know what you need, after which design a plan to get there.


PS: If you’d like a pleasant shiny app to inform you EXACTLY what number of seps and reps to do, our shiny new app will just do that!

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

Soar in proper right here:


All photograph citations: Evel Knievel, Me driving a bicycle, Bicylelifter, Undertaking Story 1/3

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