How Many Units and Reps Ought to I Do?


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For those who’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 decide the variety of repetitions and units for particular workout routines, so you’ll be able to construct your personal exercise routine.

It sounds simple, however relying in your objectives, the reply to “What number of reps and units ought to I do?” can range tremendously.

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

We work hand-in-hand with our On-line Teaching Shoppers to create the proper exercise program that fits their objectives, wants, and obtainable gear

In right this moment’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 admittedly going to be dependent in your objectives.

For instance, is your aim to enhance:

  • Muscular endurance
  • Muscular hypertrophy
  • Muscular power
  • Muscular energy

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

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

Nicely, ensure you seize our free information, Energy Coaching 101: Every thing You Must Know I’ll ship it to you totally free once you be a part of the Rebel (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 totally different rep ranges into totally different objectives, for:

  • Muscular endurance
  • Muscle measurement
  • 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 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 variety from 12 to twenty+ reps.

Clearly, you gained’t be capable of 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]

If you’re a runner or bicycle owner, power coaching with larger repetitions will help your muscle tissue 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 people seeking to construct bigger muscle tissue.

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

For those who’re seeking to get greater:

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

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

3) STRENGTH AND POWER (“myofibril hypertrophy”)

For those who’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.

One of these 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, meaning you’re going to be selecting up heavy weights, focusing all that concentrated effort into only one or a number 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 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 capability to speak with its muscle tissue has grown fatigued, and efficiency might undergo.

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

Oh, and your CNS will adapt and turn into stronger, which shall be important 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 style.

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

I understand it is a lot to determine, so if you’re anyone – like me – who simply needs to be instructed what to do and outsource all the concern of “am I doing the suitable exercise for my objectives?” I obtained you coated!

I’d like to study your story, after which construct a customized program that matches your objectives. We’ll enable you to along with your diet, your exercises, and even examine in recurrently 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, 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 “right” variety of units per train.

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

Simply ensure you’re not compromising your type.

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

At the very least 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 gentle to you, after which do 3 units of 10 reps.

(Be taught 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:

For those who’re undecided if “3 units of 10” or “5 units of 5” is best for you, we obtained you coated.

We’ll construct a program that matches your objectives, after which modify it every month primarily based in your progress. By no means guess or surprise what try to be doing once more.

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’ll be able to construct your exercise program round this data.

TO RECAP, purpose for 3-5 units within the following rep rangers per train primarily based 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 workout routines 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 workout routines 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 remains to be 90% of the equation!

Your rep vary doesn’t matter practically 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 here are some examples:

  1. For those who’re making an attempt 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. For those who’re making an attempt to drop pounds, it doesn’t matter for those who 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 for those who prepare like a bodybuilder, you ALSO must eat sufficient meals to supply your muscle tissue with sufficient energy to rebuild themselves greater and stronger! That is the largest mistake I see skinny folks make when making an attempt to bulk.

This brings me to my last level: as a result of diet is 90% of the equation, your units and reps don’t matter practically as a lot as you suppose 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 one more rep than final time.

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

Doing yet another set than final time.

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

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

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

Click on the crimson button under to get the small print about our superb on-line teaching program:


Obtain our free Energy Coaching 101 Information! You get it free once you be a part of our Rebel (the identify of our superior free on-line group). Enroll within the field under:


Bear in mind: the aim ought to 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 forth.

There are a whole lot of totally different truths and fallacies on plateaus and the way your muscle tissue can get “used” to understanding 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 totally different quantities of weight.

This can introduce just a little 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 idea, which is a preplanned interval of variation.[13] Not, you already know, wandering into the gymnasium with no plan and simply doing one thing totally different each time (no matter you are feeling like doing at that second).

That gained’t assist.

However spend every week deliberating mixing it up. Then return to your recurrently 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: 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 do exactly that!

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

Leap in proper right here:


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


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