Unless you are a certified personal trainer or have years of experience under your belt, it can be difficult to know how many reps and sets of exercises you should be performing in order to reach your athletic goals.
Your ideal rep and set range will differ based on your individual goals and training style. Therefore, in order to be most helpful for you, we have broken down this blog post to show you the perfect rep and set range for each goal.
When training for increased strength, you will want to lift heavy loads for low reps and high sets. Research demonstrates that greater strength improvements are achieved when you lift heavier weights (think between 75-90% of your 1 rep max). The increase in weight means that you will have to decrease your reps. And to keep training volume high, you will have to increase your sets.
The ideal number of reps per exercise for maximum strength gains is between 1-6. At this weight and rep range, aim to complete 6-8 sets.
In order to be able to maintain the training intensity and continue to lift the heavy weight for the required number of reps, its important to ensure that you are resting 3-5 minutes between sets. However, if you are performing sets of 1 (testing for your 1 rep max), resting only 1-2 minutes between attempts may be sufficient.
If your goal is to grow those muscles, you will want to lift moderate weight for moderate reps and moderate sets.
During your next training session, try completing 10-15 reps for 3 sets. When it comes to recovery, it is best to keep your rest intervals shorter. Studies have shown that shorter rest intervals of 30-60 seconds between sets are associated with higher acute increases in growth hormone, which may help you to build bigger muscles.
If your training is focused on increasing muscular endurance, you will want to keep your weight lower and your reps and sets higher. Try performing 15-20 repetitions of each exercise for 5-8 sets.
Another strategy that is effective for increasing muscular endurance is to perform circuits. Use the suggested reps and sets above and rest 30 seconds between exercises that target different muscles and 2 minutes between exercises that involve similar muscle groups.
Following these different strategies will help you to achieve your specific performance goals, but in order to ensure that you remain a well-rounded athlete, its important to incorporate all 3 methods into your training program.
Additionally, don’t forget that in order to see continuous improvements, you must progressively overload your muscles. Learn more about progressive overload and how it can help you become a better athlete.