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

In the event 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 Energy 101 sequence, and we’ll present you precisely tips on how to decide the variety of repetitions and units for particular workouts, so you possibly can construct your individual exercise routine.

It sounds straightforward, however relying in your targets, the reply to “What number of reps and units ought to I do?” can differ significantly.

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

We work hand-in-hand with our On-line Teaching Purchasers to create the proper exercise program that fits their targets, wants, and accessible tools

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

The Appropriate 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 Energy Coaching 101 sequence, what number of reps and units it is best to do is basically going to be dependent in your targets.

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?

Effectively, be sure to seize our free information, Energy Coaching 101: Every little thing You Must Know I’ll ship it to you totally free if you be part of the Revolt (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?

Bear 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 targets, 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 begin 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 muscle groups to carry out for an prolonged time period. This implies doing a LOT of repetitions. 

Individuals focusing on muscular endurance will intention for a variety from 12 to twenty+ reps.

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

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

In case you are a runner or bicycle owner, power coaching with larger repetitions may also help your muscle groups 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 muscle groups.

The scientific time period right here is “sarcoplasmic hypertrophy,” because it focuses on growing 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 this kind of hypertrophy helps construct general dimension (i.e., elevated cross-sectional space of the muscle).

In the event you’re seeking to get larger:

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

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

3) STRENGTH AND POWER (“myofibril hypertrophy”)

In the event you’re coaching for particular sports activities and simply wish to get stronger with extra energy – however not essentially get larger, that is the technique for you.

The 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, meaning you’re going to be selecting 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.

One thing to notice when lifting for power and energy: not solely are you stunning your muscle groups, however you’re additionally placing a number of stress in your physique’s central nervous system (CNS).

So what does this imply?

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

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

Oh, and your CNS will adapt and turn out to be stronger, which can be essential for constructing power and energy.[5]

That is how powerlifters prepare:

  • 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 you need 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 understand this can be a lot to determine, so if you’re any person – like me – who simply desires to be instructed what to do and outsource all the fear of “am I doing the suitable exercise for my targets?” I acquired you lined!

I’d like to be taught your story, after which construct a customized program that matches your targets. We’ll provide help to together with your diet, your exercises, and even examine in often 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 gaggle of repetitions carried out for an train with out stopping.

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

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

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

Simply be sure to’re not compromising your kind.

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

A minimum of he’s making an attempt!

The Nationwide Energy 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! Decide a weight that feels mild to you, after which do 3 units of 10 reps.

(Study 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 the event you’re unsure 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 targets, after which alter it every month based mostly in your progress. By no means guess or marvel what you need to be doing once more.

Learn how 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 targets affect the variety of reps per set, and what units really are, you possibly can construct your exercise program round this information.

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 (larger muscle groups): 6-12 reps per set.
  3. Energy (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 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 counsel 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 unhealthy.[10]

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

Your rep vary doesn’t matter almost as a lot as you assume, 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 the event you’re making an attempt to construct muscle and get larger, doing units of three or units of 5 or units of 10 will ALL provide help to get larger, if you’re consuming sufficient to get larger![11]
  2. In the event you’re making an attempt to drop extra pounds, it doesn’t matter should you do units of 15 or units of 5 if you’re constantly overeating by 1,000 energy a day. It’s good to eat the suitable variety of energy.[12]
  3. It doesn’t matter should you prepare like a bodybuilder, you ALSO have to eat sufficient meals to offer your muscle groups with sufficient energy to rebuild themselves larger and stronger! That is the largest mistake I see skinny individuals make when making an attempt to bulk.

This brings me to my closing level: as a result of diet is 90% of the equation, your units and reps don’t matter almost as a lot as you assume they do!

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

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

Yet another rep than final time.

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

Doing another set than final time.

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

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

1) GET HELP: In order for you professional steerage and accountability so that you don’t have to determine all of these things by yourself, I acquired you. 

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


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Bear 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 muscle groups to do extra, they’ll need to adapt by getting larger, stronger, burning extra energy, and so on.

There are a number of completely different truths and fallacies on plateaus and the way your muscle groups can get “used” to figuring out and cease rising.

If that’s one thing you’re battling, right here’s a technique 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 might be an excellent factor…except 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 fitness center with no plan and simply doing one thing completely different each time (no matter you’re feeling like doing at that second).

That gained’t assist.

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

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


PS: In order for you 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’ll be able to sign-up for a free 7-day trial to Nerd Health Journey, which is able to construct a exercise round your expertise stage!

Bounce in proper right here:


All picture citations: Evel Knievel, Me using a bicycle, Bicylelifter, Venture Story 1/3

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