How Many Reps Should I do?

The number of repetitions per exercise is one of the most important aspects of a workout. Why? because it helps answer the most important question…

What are your goals?

Do you want to build muscle or burn fat?

I know it easy to say ” uh, both.” But let’s slow down here. Unless you are partaking in illegal substances gaining muscle and burning fat at the same time is EXTREMELY difficult once you progress past the beginner stage. So it’s best to focus on one or the other. Either way you will see results with both when you first start so it’s best to pick the one you favor most.

For fat burning

Focus on less weight higher reps in the 8-15 range. According to research, this range increases the greatest amount of fat burning hormones.

Given such a broad range variation is best. You can use the rep ranges below to modify any given workout. I suggest changing the range every week or every workout.

12-15 reps
10-12 reps
8-10 reps

Beginners note: use a lighter weight and higher rep count starting out. Your form is crucial to preventing injury. So take your time, breath, and pay attention to what you are doing. Don’t be afraid to ask a trainer for help with your form. An injury, in the beginning, will derail your whole game plan!

For building muscle

I know what you’re thinking… More weight and less reps!

Well, yes and no.

Our bodies are made up of two types of muscle fibers. Fast twitch responsible for strength and power and slow twitch responsible for muscular endurance. Both have the potential for growth. Although the fast twitch fibers have a greater potential it’s important to train BOTH muscle fiber groups for MAXIMUM results.

Case in point: A study conducted at Arizona State University shows people who altered their rep range each workout within a given week gained TWICE as much strength as those who maintained the same number. This is what is referred to as undulating periodization and is now the standard practice among professional and Olympic athletes.

I recommend alternating the number of target reps either per workout or per week.

for example:

week 1: 15 reps

week 2: 10 reps

week 3: 5 reps

You can also alternate per workout

Monday: 15 reps

Wednesday: 10 reps

Friday: 5 reps

This method will help you successfully target both muscle fiber groups and help you achieve maximum results when trying to gain muscle. Now you are ready to move one to the next section. Choosing the Right Amount of Weight.

Key points:

  • Whether you are trying to gain muscle or burn fat it is important to alternate a number of reps per week or per workout.
  • When trying to gain muscle it is important to target both muscle fiber groups for maximum results.
  • Targeting a particular muscle fiber group is more akin to a dimmer switch than an on/off switch.

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2 thoughts on “How Many Reps Should I do?

  1. Ada Reply

    Your site looks awesome! Great job! I am a beginner when it comes to working out, so this helps!

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