Exercise Tutorial, Gym Fitness

We are often asked on the gym floor how many reps of a certain exercise is best, how much rest is needed and how many sets are optimal for building muscle?

The answers are here!

 

If you want to build ENDURANCE in your muscles:

Reps 15-50

Sets 2-3

Rest 30-45s

Tempo of the lift 5-1-2-1 (think of a squat that takes 5 seconds to lower, a 1 second hold at the bottom and 2 seconds to stand back up)

The final 2-3 reps should provide a slight challenge.

The weight is relatively light here so can be used to perform slower and more reps to mimic the event you are training for. These lighter weight/higher reps may also be used with rehab/beginner clients.

 

If you want to build muscle SIZE:

Reps 8-15

Sets 3-5

Rest 45-90s

Tempo of the lift 3-1-3-1 (think of a squat that takes 3 seconds to lower, a 1 second hold at the bottom and 3 seconds to stand back up)

With moderately heavy weights these reps can be performed slower to keep the muscle under tension longer which causes microscopic damage which, in turn, stimulates growth.

The final 2-3 reps should provide a moderate challenge.

 

If you want to build STRENGTH:

Reps 2-8

Sets 3-6

Rest 90s-3mins

Tempo of the lift 2-1-2-1 (think of a squat that takes 2 seconds to lower, a 1 second hold at the bottom and 2 seconds to stand back up)

With relatively heavy weights the reps have to be performed faster and more explosively.

The final 1-2 reps should provide a significant challenge.

 

AAAAAANNNNNND that’s it! Short and sweet

Here’s a table that keeps all that info in one place for you.

Thanks for reading and feel free to ask any questions in the comments on Facebook!
Mark

Mark Caulfield

Mark Caulfield PT Personal Trainer and Neuromuscular Physical Therapist based in Waterford, Ireland