How Many Reps Should You Be Doing ?

Many people ask themselves, am I doing enough or too little during exercise?  The number of reps to complete is contingent on your fitness goals and should be understood to a large degree. The only way to see the results you want for yourself is to do the proper amount of work.


First you must ask yourself, what exactly are my fitness goals? For example, is your focus getting stronger? Improving endurance? Gain larger muscle? Or becoming more fit in general?  Below is training volume explained.


Let’s say your goal is to build your endurance, or in other words stamina, usually referring to long lasting before reaching fatigue. Maybe you want to walk up a flight of stairs without losing your breath or easily handle more weight. Endurance should be at least 12 repetitions or more for 2-3 sets with 60-70% 1-RM. Whether that be bicep curls or squats, 12 or more repetitions are recommended for building endurance.


What about hypertrophy? There are two types of hypertrophy but we will just discuss the general definition; muscle size and muscle strength increase. Maybe your goal is to have larger arms so they can bust out the sleeves or shirt, or build larger legs and glutes. Hypertrophy goals are to complete 6-12 repetitions for 3-6 sets with 70-80% of 1-RM.

If you want to get stronger, completing no more than 6 repetitions is recommended for 2-6 sets. This is with 80-90% of your 1-RM. Muscle strength is a very common goal in fitness. You’re likely to get stronger in almost any aspect of fitness but following the correct reps and sets for this particular goal will give you maximum results.


Power, Exerting maximum force with speed. When you think of power, think of short bursts of energy like plyometric exercises (jumping, accelerating, etc.). Power usually doesn’t exceed more than 5 repetitions; about 1-2 reps or 3-5 reps with 90% or greater of 1-RM. Sets for power is 3-5.


Lastly is general fitness. Simply complete about 8-15 reps for 1-2 sets for general fitness. This is a good start for beginners or just a basic day to spend at the gym with no particular goal in mind. As far as resistance load, remember this key note: if you can complete more than 13 reps without any struggle, that means you went too lite. If you can only complete about 7 reps, that could mean you went too heavy.

Take this information for what it’s worth. The data has been tested and documented to work. Structure your training volume based on the results you want to see. You will reach your goals with a specific plan. If you’re interested in a Total Body Fitness Program, check out the products above.

Data from: Baechle & Earle, 2008; Westcott, 2003.

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