What Are Reps In Exercise?

If you’re just starting a weight training program, there are certain terms that you will need to understand to get the most out of your exercise schedule.

What Are Reps In Exercise?

We’ve compiled an ultimate guide to reps in exercise. Read on for lots more information on reps, what they are, and how to track them. Let’s dive in!

What Are Reps? 

‘Reps’ is the shortened word for ‘repetitions’. A single rep or repetition refers to the cycle of a certain exercise movement. 

Reps refer to a whole movement. During this movement, your muscles work through two phases.

These are a contraction and an extension phase. For example, when you lift a dumbbell you will flex your elbows as you lift the weight, while also contracting your biceps. Then, you will extend your elbows and lower the dumbbell. This entire process is known as a rep.

The number of reps that you perform during an exercise has an impact on the effect of the exercise. For instance, it will determine whether the exercise will result in endurance building or strength gains.

Usually, if you perform between 3 and 5 reps with heavy weights, you are focussing on strength gains. If you perform between 8 and 12 reps of the same exercise with smaller weights, this will promote hypertrophy gain. 

If you perform any more than 12 reps of the same exercise, you are likely focussing on endurance.

Depending on your goal, you will need to adjust the number of reps that you perform in each exercise.

What Is A Set In Exercise?

When you are getting to know the terminology, another term that you are likely to encounter is a set. This refers to the collection of several reps. For example, when someone mentions a set, they are referring to the number of times that they are going to perform a certain number of reps of one exercise. 

For example, it is common to perform 3 sets of 12 reps. This will mean that you complete the exercise 36 times overall, split up into 3 rounds.

The number of sets that you carry out in a workout will vary depending on your personal goals. 

The first set that you carry out is considered to be the warm-up. It is best to carry out this set with light weights as this will prepare the muscle for the rest of the exercise. As you work through the sets, you should increase the weight to stimulate the muscle. 

If you are training a larger muscle group, it is recommended that you carry out 12 sets per session. This is if you are training your chest, back, or legs. 

Performing more sets will allow you to target different areas of this muscle group as you will have the chance to add in several different exercises.

Smaller muscle groups will not need as many sets. For instance, biceps, calves, and triceps will only require between 9 and 10 sets in a session. It is best to ensure you don’t overtrain these smaller muscle groups as they can be easily overworked.

What Does It Mean To Do 1 Set Of 15 Reps?

1 set of 15 reps refers to performing 15 reps of a certain exercise in one go. If you perform 15 reps, it is usually to focus on building muscle hypertrophy.

If you are performing 15 reps of one exercise, it is a good idea to use light or moderate weights.

What Does It Mean To Do 3 Sets Of 10 Reps?

If you are looking to carry out 3 sets of 10 reps, this means that you will be performing the exercise 10 times in 3 different rounds, doing 30 reps overall.

This is the recommended routine for those who are just getting started with weight training. This is because it tests the muscles, enabling them to gain size and strength, but it doesn’t put too much stress on them.

How Long Should You Rest Between Sets

What Are Reps In Exercise?

The average rest time in between sets is 3 minutes. These rest intervals are very important as they allow your body time to recover in between. 

The amount of time in between sets will vary depending on the type of exercise that you are doing. For example, if you are exercising to get stronger, the rest period will need to be long. 

It is recommended that you rest for between 2 and 5 minutes between sets if you are doing strength work. This gives you the biggest chance to recover so that you can produce the most strength each time.

If you are not attempting to produce raw strength, then shorter rest periods will serve you better. You can rest for 2 minutes or less in this case.

There is no specific way that you should rest between sets as they will be different for individuals. This will also depend on how long you have been training, your experience, and your goals! 

How Many Sets And Reps Should You Do?

The number of sets and reps that you should do will depend on several different factors. This will depend on recovery ability, training experience, individual genetics, and schedule. 

The more advanced you are in terms of training experience, the more stimulus you will need when it comes to your exercise routine.

Final Thoughts 

So, there you have it! To build physical strength you need to know how to integrate both reps and sets into your workout.

To ensure that you make the best strength and size gains that you can, you should keep switching the set/rep scheme of your workout program. 

This article has covered the meaning of sets and reps in exercise, and with this information, you are much more likely to be successful when you are training.

You will need to switch up your set and rep scheme if you want to make the most out of your workout.

Laura Simmons
Latest posts by Laura Simmons (see all)