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How Many Repetitions Should I do in Weight Training?

Updated on August 21, 2010

The number or reps, or repetitions, you perform is as important as the weight you use. To build as large and strong muscle as possible, four to six repetitions or one to two at the extreme, is the most effective number of reps. Keep in mind that the weight must be heavy enough so that by the end of the last repetition, you can no longer perform another repetition. For moderate gain in strength and size, 8 to 12 repetitions works well.

High intensity weight training, four to six reps, is suitable for experienced exercisers and athletes since it poses a higher risk of injury. Low repetition workout is also believed to increase strength and mass the most since it allows you to increase the overload to the muscle instantaneously. Progressive overload is the only reason your muscles get stronger and bigger.

Despite the benefit of high intensity weight training, it’s too damn hard performing each repetition in good form with that amount of weight. Due to this reason, eight to twelve repetitions or moderate intensity workout is more suitable. In fact, 8 to 12 is the ideal number to strike a balance between building muscular endurance and strength and It has a lower risk of injury.

Low intensity training, 10 to 15 repetitions, or even more, is suitable for those who can’t perform the high and moderate intensity workout. It’s building more endurance than strength/mass.

To build muscular endurance, perform at least 12 repetitions, but limit it to two or three sets. To increase muscle mass, three to six sets of 6-12 repetitions works best. For muscular strength, perform no more than six repetitions each set, two to six sets.


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