How many repetitions/reps are best for your training?

How many repetitions/reps are best for your training?


How many times do you need to lift the weights to achieve the best result?

Many in the training world often question this, but in reality, it's quite straightforward. In this article, we'll delve into how many repetitions are truly necessary to achieve the best results.

Person performing incline machine press

What is your goal?

When seeking an answer, it's crucial to clarify your goal. Whether it's to increase strength, build muscle mass, or improve endurance, categorizing yourself under one or a combination of these goals helps tailor your program accordingly.

Nevertheless, it's important to note that fitness isn't akin to mathematics, where there's only one correct conclusion. Instead, it's more of an experimental journey, guiding you to discover what works best for you!

The division

When examining the breakdown of strength, muscle growth, and endurance, there is a 'traditional' and straightforward method to categorize them.

Strength: 1-5 repetitions.

Muscle growth: 6-12 repetitions.

Endurance: 12+ repetitions.

(Here you must do the repetitions with optimal weight resistance. In the strength category, for example, you must do the repetitions with enough resistance that you fall within the 1-5 repetitions with muscle fatigue as a result).

Here you should perform repetitions with optimal weight resistance. For example, in the strength category, you should do repetitions with enough resistance to fall within the 1-5 repetition range, resulting in muscle fatigue.

Muscle growth:

When we further examine the breakdown, we can see that an increase in muscle growth requires slightly more repetitions than strength building. The reason for this can be explained by the concept of "volume." To achieve a slightly higher number of repetitions, there is no need for a significant reduction in weight. Therefore, one can maintain a relatively high weight and increase the repetitions, effectively increasing the overall volume, which stimulates muscle growth to a greater extent.

(Volume = repetitions * weight)



To train endurance, we need to perform a high number of repetitions. When training to increase endurance, our target is type-1 muscle fibers (small fibers that are slower to fatigue). To stress type-1 fibers, it's necessary to activate them for extended periods with lower weights. When focusing on endurance, we activate small fibers, and therefore, this type of training doesn't aim to develop large muscles.



Many individuals incorporate a combination of the three forms of training. A blend might involve heavy compound lifts (exercises engaging multiple joints and muscle groups, such as bench press, deadlift, and squat) with low reps, paired with isolation exercises (involving only one joint and fewer muscle groups) with higher reps. This approach allows for a comprehensive workout targeting increased strength, muscle growth, and endurance simultaneously.

"Also read: How many sets are best?"

Person sitting on bench with heavy dumbells

Does it work?

There are many factors to consider when discussing optimizing training. Let's say you get the right sleep and diet; by following this division, you will reach your goal. While this division may sound simple, it is effective, and for good reason. You train strength by lifting heavy weights to activate type-2 fibers, and conversely, use lighter weights with longer stimulation to activate type-1 fibers.

Finally, it should be noted that the division should be taken with a grain of salt - by that, I mean it's okay to deviate slightly from the guidelines. If you're training for strength, for example, doing 6 reps in one of the sets instead of 5 won't make a significant difference.

Do you train according to this "traditional" split?

Always remember to perform the exercises correctly.

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