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

Should 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 easy methods 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 objectives, the reply to “What number of reps and units ought to I do?” can differ tremendously.

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 right exercise program that fits their objectives, wants, and accessible tools

In immediately’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, nevertheless it’s a enjoyable phrase to say.)

As we talked about all through our Energy 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 energy
  • Muscular energy

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

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

Properly, be sure you seize our free information, Energy Coaching 101: All the pieces You Must Know I’ll ship it to you at no cost once 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?

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 attempting to get out of this exercise?!

We’ll group completely different rep ranges into completely different objectives, for:

  • Muscular endurance
  • Muscle measurement
  • General 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 “extensively 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 tissue to carry out for an prolonged time period. This implies doing a LOT of repetitions. 

Folks concentrating on muscular endurance will purpose for a spread from 12 to twenty+ reps.

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

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

In case you are a runner or bike owner, energy coaching with greater repetitions can assist your muscle tissue develop extra endurance as effectively![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 people seeking to construct bigger muscle tissue.

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 measurement is attributed to the sarcoplasm, so specializing in such a hypertrophy helps construct general measurement (i.e., elevated cross-sectional space of the muscle).

Should you’re seeking to get greater:

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

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

3) STRENGTH AND POWER (“myofibril hypertrophy”)

Should 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.

The sort of coaching focuses on strengthening the myofibril, the contractile a part of the muscle, therefore the identify “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 just a few reps.[4]

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

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

So what does this imply?

In a method, it means your physique’s potential to speak with its muscle tissue has grown fatigued, and efficiency could endure.

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

Oh, and your CNS will adapt and turn into stronger, which will likely be vital for constructing energy 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 could be ready 3-5 minutes between units when coaching on this style.

TO RECAP, these are the rep ranges you need 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 measurement.
  • Reps within the 12+ vary primarily construct muscular endurance and measurement and likewise cardiovascular well being.

I notice it is a lot to determine, so in case you are anyone – like me – who simply desires to be instructed what to do and outsource all the concern of “am I doing the proper exercise for my objectives?” I acquired you coated!

I’d like to be taught your story, after which construct a customized program that matches your objectives. We’ll enable you to along with your vitamin, your exercises, and even test in repeatedly 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, for those who do 10 squats proper now, you simply did 1 SET of 10 reps of squats.

So let’s speak 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 you’re not compromising your type.

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

A minimum of he’s attempting!

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 energy (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:

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

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 you need to be doing once more.

Find out how to Construct a Exercise Routine!

Batman knows how many reps and sets to do.

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

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 muscle tissue): 6-12 reps per set.
  3. Energy (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 counsel concentrating on heavier weight with fewer reps for large lifts like squats and deadlifts to construct muscle, whereas concentrating 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: Diet continues 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. Should you’re attempting to construct 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 consuming sufficient to get greater![11]
  2. Should you’re attempting to shed extra pounds, it doesn’t matter for those who do units of 15 or units of 5 in case you are persistently overeating by 1,000 energy a day. It’s good to eat the proper variety of energy.[12]
  3. It doesn’t matter for those who prepare like a bodybuilder, you ALSO must eat sufficient meals to offer your muscle tissue with sufficient energy to rebuild themselves greater and stronger! That is the largest mistake I see skinny folks make when attempting 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 energy 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 yet one more 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 purple button under to get the main points about our wonderful on-line teaching program:


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

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

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

There are a whole lot of completely different truths and fallacies on plateaus and the way your muscle tissue 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 every week in a distinct rep vary with completely different quantities of weight.

This can introduce a bit chaos into the system, which might be a very good 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 realize, 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 received’t assist.

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

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


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

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

Bounce in proper right here:


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

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