How many reps should I do?
So you’re about to hit the gym solo and you have an idea of which exercises you would like to do, but how can you tell the amount of repetitions you should be doing? We’re coming to the rescue! Here’s our ‘How many reps should I do?’ guide.
What is a ‘rep’?
A rep, or repetition, is the number of times you perform an exercise. For your reference, a ‘set’ is a block of reps. For example, you might perform 12 push ups, then take a rest, then do another 12 – this would be two sets of push ups with 12 reps per set.
How many reps should I be doing?
Different trainers may advise slightly different numbers, but general rule of thumb is:
1-3 reps: Power
Lower numbers of reps are usually done with much heavier weights (i.e. to try to achieve personal bests such as the maximum amount you could lift in one attempt).
4-7 reps: Strength
Want to improve your strength? Although any rep range will help you become stronger, this is a good range to work in if strength is your main goal and you want to put on some muscle.
8-11 reps: Hypertrophy
This rep range is usually targeted to help increase muscle size.
12-15 reps: Toning
If you do this amount of reps in each set, you will be working on building lean, toned muscle.
16 reps+ : Endurance
Training in this rep range will help you build lean toned muscle and may even assist with your cardiovascular fitness. As you’ll be doing more reps, if you’re using any weights they will likely be lower than for any of the other rep ranges.
How do I use this?
What are you training for? Think about why you’re training and it will help you select which of the above rep ranges you should be using during your workouts.
Regardless of which rep range you are training in, to avoid plateauing and ensure you continue to progress either your strength or your body, the last repetition of the exercise you do should be a struggle to get out. If the entire set is easy and you could continue doing more (but want to stay in that rep range), you should be upping the speed, difficulty or weight of the exercise to make it more difficult.
Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – marin