How Many Reps?

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How Many Reps?

One of the most common questions regarding weight training that I’m asked is, “How many reps should I do?” The answer is rarely what they expect. In order to know how many repetitions in a given set you should perform, it first becomes necessary to determine what your goal is. Typically it falls into one of three categories; getting bigger, getting smaller (leaner), or getting stronger.  Let’s take the last one first. According to a considerable body of  research, the improvement of strength through the use of weights is optimized when the repetitions to fall between 1 and 6 per set. Any more than 6 and returns begin to diminish. Want to get bigger muscles? Keep your reps in the 7-12 range. This is where the research shows you get the best results for hypertrophy (muscle enlargement). Going the other way? Want to build endurance and get leaner(toned)? Now you’re talking 13+ reps at minimum, with 15 or 20 being ideal to build muscular endurance and burn calories. This is an extremely simplified explanation of what rep range one should be working in, but for the beginner or person looking for some scientific direction; it’s a good starting point.

Strength= 1-6 Reps/Set

Hypertrophy= 7-12 Reps/Set

Muscle Endurance= 13+ Reps/Set (15-20 ideal)

Alan Reese

ISSA Certified Trainer, USAW Sport Performance Coach, 2019 IWF Masters World Cup Champion

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