How many sets and reps should I do? a look at weight training

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When it comes to weight training, people like to know how many sets they should perform and how many reps they should do, that is a common question asked especially by novices, but it’s a good question, it all depends on what your goal is.

There are many goals when it comes to weight training, one common goal is to build muscle, another common goal is for losing weight or then there is another goal of building strength. in today’s subject I will be talking about a common question that many people ask and that is how many sets and reps should I do, a look at weight training.

What is your goal?

As far as when it comes to how you set up your weight training program and the intensity level, it all comes down to what your goals are and what your expectations are. Naturally if your goal is to get into better shape, boost your metabolism and lose some weight, then you will naturally need to set a different rep and set scheme than if your goal was for building muscle.

If your goal is to build muscle or at that, a large quantity of massive muscle then your goal would obviously be different from that of a weight trainer who is into building strength, or a marathon runner who is into building endurance and stamina.

And finally if your goal is to build strength then you naturally are not going to set up a rep and set scheme like that of someone who has a goal of losing weight and building endurance, or that of someone who is just purely adding muscle to their frame.

each goal has a sense of purpose of what each individual is trying to accomplish, each goal as well as each set and rep scheme has its own purpose and set of importance that the weight trainer or endurance trainer is trying to accomplish.

Your goal for building endurance

If your goal is for building endurance then you naturally want to make your workouts much more intense than that of a weight trainer or strength trainer. It is not to say that a weight trainer or strength training don’t work out with the intensity of an endurance trainer, but the point that I am trying to get across here is that endurance training isn’t necessarily more intense in a sense of energy put out in your workout but the duration of your sets.

Now naturally some one who it is building their endurance is going to want to make the amount of time per set extended out to be a longer duration and shorter rest between sets.

So if your goal is for building endurance and you are using the weight room to help with increasing your endurance levels, then naturally you will want to have higher reps per set for building that endurance level that you are seeking.

When it comes to how many sets the endurance trainer does it all depends on what else they have built around their weight training sessions. The endurance trainer might have an adequate amount of cardio training in their training program as well or maybe an aerobics class.

For example say the endurance trainer gets in a one hour training session, half an hour of cardio and then half an hour of weight training, the weight training session could very well likely be circuit training.

Say for example if the circuit training program they are doing is three circuits of five exercises, then that would come out to an accumulated 15 sets followed by half an hour of cardio.

Your goal for building muscle size

If your goal is for building muscle size then you would take a relatively medium approach to that of an endurance trainer or a strength trainer, that would be measured as a medium approach in the sense of how many reps that you are performing per set.

If your goal is for building muscle size then you should take an approach of between 8 to 12 reps for building muscle size.

Even for the guy or girl who goes to the gym to pump a lot of weight and build muscle size, he or she still needs to start out with relatively high reps to warm up his or her muscles and joints before he or she can move on into the lower reps, meaning 8 to 12 reps per set.

There is still always the necessity for any weight trainer no matter what their goals are to thoroughly warm their muscles and joints before weight training, this means doing higher reps of 15 to 25 reps per set.

Once the weight trainer has thoroughly warmed their muscles and joints up by performing 15 to 25 reps per set typically for at least two if not three warm-up sets, then the weight trainer can move on into their typical amount of reps for building muscle which would be between 8 to 12 reps per set.

As far as how many sets the weight trainer should perform would depend on the size of the muscle group that they are working. If it is a larger muscle group like chest, back or thighs then you should perform between 15 to 20 sets per body part.

for smaller muscle groups would naturally get a less amount of sets per body part, typically 10 to 15 sets per body part would be about normal. then it also depends upon your experience level weight training.

If you are new to weight training I would suggest probably starting out with performing three sets per body part, once you have reached the intermediate level which would be at six months you can bump it up to 10 sets per body part for large muscle groups and eight sets per body part for smaller muscle groups.

Once you have become an experienced lifter which would be a year or more then I would suggest 15 to 20 sets per large body part and 10 to 15 sets for smaller body parts.

Your goal for building strength

If your number one goal is for building strength you will naturally want to start out with warming your muscles and joints with a higher amount of reps as stated earlier for building muscle, but the rep scheme will drop from 8 to 12 reps per set down to only performing between 1 to 6 reps per set.

The amount of sets that you will be performing for building strength would still remain the same as if you are building muscle mass and the reps will be lower as you will only be performing 1 to 6 reps per set but your rest periods between sets will be longer.

Whereas for building muscle size your rest periods between sets should be approximately one minute but for your rest periods between sets for building strength should be closer to two minutes per set.


Endurance training could be referred to as being long haul training because you are spending more time under the weight and doing higher repetitions and you are spending less time resting.

weight training for building muscle mass and that for building strength are relatively similar in the way they are performed except for the amount of reps that you are performing per set as well as the amount of time that you are resting between sets.

The resting time that you have between sets for building muscle mass should be approximately one minute and that should be about enough time two regain a moderate heartbeat before you go on to perform your next set.

For those that are into strength training would require a longer resting period between sets of approximately two minutes between each set, the reason being for this is that when you are strength training it is all about short bursts of energy, your mission isn’t about obtaining a muscle pump.

You should have preferably as much as two minutes of rest between sets simply so that you can regain the strength it requires to perform the short bursts of energy that strength training requires.

I hope that you have gained some insight from today’s topic, It is always in my best interest to offer content that will be of help in reaching your weight training goals.

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