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How Many Reps and Sets Should You Do When Working Out ?

by Repfuel Sports 08 Jun 2023 0 Comments


Determining the right number of reps and sets during your workouts is very essential for achieving your fitness goals. Whether you're a novice or a seasoned fitness enthusiast, optimizing your training routine can make all the difference in reaching your desired results. In this article, we'll delve into the world of reps, sets, and training goals, providing you with valuable insights to enhance your workout experience.

Determining the Optimal Sets and Reps:

There are various parameters according to which you can determine the total number of sets and reps in your workout session. Let's explore some common training goals and the recommended approaches:

General Fitness: If you're new to weightlifting and aiming to improve overall health and daily functionality, a general fitness approach is ideal. Often referred to as "toning," this goal focuses on achieving well-rounded fitness. You can achieve general fitness by just performing one to three sets with a rep range of 12 to 15 reps per exercise, while providing yourself with a rest duration of 30 to 90 seconds. The intensity may vary based on individual capabilities.

Muscle endurance

Muscular Endurance: For enhancing muscular endurance and sustaining force over an extended period, higher reps with slightly lower weights are effective. Aim for three to four sets with more than 12 reps per exercise, resting for up to 30 seconds. Keeping the intensity below 67% of your one-rep maximum (1RM) is advisable.

Hypertrophy (Muscle Growth): To build muscle mass and achieve the desired "bulk," focus on hypertrophy training. This approach involves higher volumes of work at moderate-to-high intensity levels (67% to 85% of 1RM) with minimal rest periods between sets. So to provide your body with a proper muscle growth, hit the target of three to six sets, while performing at least 12 reps and a rest duration of 30 to 90 seconds between the sets.

Also read - Optimal Training Volume For Muscle Growth?

Muscular Strength: For maximum strength gains, reduce the number of reps while increasing the intensity. By lifting close to your 1RM, you'll challenge your muscles to generate maximum force. So by targeting four to six sets with a rep range of six reps, providing the rest duration of at least two to five minutes between the sets and maintaining an intensity level above 85% of your 1RM you'll be able to achieve muscular strength.

Also read - The Benefits Of Building Muscle?

Power Training: Powerlifters and competitive weightlifters often pursue power training, which emphasizes generating force in the shortest time possible. So, when the target is to generate maximum power in a single rep, you should perform three to five sets with a rep range of one to two reps, and providing the rest duration of at least two to five minutes between the set, while maintaining the intensity of 80% to 90% of your 1RM. While or multiple-rep power training, aim for three to five sets with three to five reps, with similar rest and intensity guidelines (75% to 85% of 1RM).

workout routine

Developing Your Workout Routine:

Now that you understand the recommended sets and reps for different training goals, it's time to build a well-structured workout routine. Consider the following tips:

Exercise Selection: If you're new to weightlifting, start with one exercise per muscle group, focusing on proper form to ensure safety and effectiveness. As your fitness level improves or if you change your goals, gradually increase the number of exercises per muscle group. The recommendation provided by The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) suggests that incorporating two to four exercises per body part helps to build muscle size and strength.

Workout Frequency: Factors such as your fitness goals, workout schedule, and your daily lifestyle highly contributes in establishing your workout frequency. For individuals whose main focus is to maintain general fitness and better health, it is recommended to have at least two strength training workouts per week, targeting all the major muscle groups. To optimize muscular strength or hypertrophy, prioritize your training volume rather than the total number of training sessions per week.

Workout Structure: To keep your workouts engaging and effective, consider different workout structures. Here are a few popular options:

Circuit Training: Perform exercises one after another without rest, combining strength training and cardiovascular benefits. This approach keeps your heart rate elevated, aiding calorie burn during and after the workout.

Pyramid Training: Build on each set, increasing weight and decreasing reps to target muscle fibres more intensely. Try incorporating an upper-body pyramid workout for a challenging routine.

Supersets: Perform two exercises targeting the same muscle group back-to-back, increasing intensity and calorie expenditure. Explore total-body superset workouts for a comprehensive training experience.

Tabata Strength Training: Engage in high-intensity circuit training with 20-second work intervals and 10 seconds of rest, repeated for four minutes. This method elevates your heart rate significantly.

Tri-Sets: Similar to supersets, tri-sets involve performing the same or opposing muscle groups consecutively with the help of three exercises without rest. This technique enhances intensity and calorie burn.

Optimizing Your Training:

To elevate your training experience and maximize results, consider the following factors:

Nutrition: To optimize muscle protein synthesis and aid in muscle recovery, it is necessary to provide your body with a properly balanced diet. Consume adequate protein to support muscle tissue repair and growth. The USDA suggests that your daily calorie intake should consist of at least 10% to 35% protein. Alternatively, consuming protein up to 1.4 to 2.0 grams of our total body weight is recommended by the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Additionally, incorporate nutritious carbohydrates for energy and healthy fats for cell maintenance and satiety.

rest and recovery

Rest and Recovery: Remember that muscle growth occurs during rest and recovery, not during your workout sessions. Provide at least 48 hours of recovery time for your body in between the strength-training workouts. On recovery days, focus on exercises that target muscles not utilized during your previous session. Adjust the intensity of your workouts to prevent burnout and ensure proper recovery.

Seek Professional Guidance: If you're new to weightlifting or experiencing a plateau, consider working with a certified personal trainer. These professionals are trained to optimize your fitness goals by providing you with the personalized training program that highly contributes to your fitness goals without affecting your day to day lifestyle.


By understanding how important reps and sets are for your fitness goals you can now create a well-structured workout plan for yourself which optimize your fitness goals. Remember, it is necessary to align your sets and reps with your specific goals, gradually increase exercise variety, and find a workout structure that keeps you engaged. Additionally, focus on proper nutrition and sufficient rest, and consider seeking guidance from a certified personal trainer for expert advice.


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