Whenever we work out, the first thing we consider is what type of muscles you’re working on: Whether its arm day or leg day, etc. Then you think of what exercises to do to work that targeted muscle or group. Then you start your routine.

When you do a bench press, for example, you may do 4 sets of 10. However many reps and sets you do should depend on your ability.

The number of sets and reps you should be doing should also depend on how much weight you are using. The weight doesn’t have a certain number as everybody is different and it will always differ.

The number of sets or reps to do depends on many things, but first I’ll just go through what sets and reps are.

What are reps?

‘Reps’ is short for ‘repetitions’ as in, a repetition of a movement like for example, a bicep curl. If you do 10 reps you perform the movement 10 times; If you do 12 reps you do the movement 12 times, and so on.

Now that you know what reps are, time to talk about what to think of when considering the number of reps to do.

There are two ways to train, high intensity training and ‘comfy training’, as I call it, and the way you work out in each are very different.

So, what I mean by high intensity training, is pushing your muscles close to or to failure, with short rest periods. Where you’re sure that you have put in all the work and simply can’t anymore.

What I mean by ‘comfy training’ is doing a certain number of reps routinely, without ever changing the weight or adding reps to their workout.

It is really easy to fall into a cycle of ‘comfy training’ regimes, I know this from experience.

It’s not necessarily a ‘bad’ thing, like I used to do 4 sets of 10 on the bench press with 30kg, quite a small amount but I was more of a beginner at the time. The problem was though, that I was not pushing myself at all, that was a workout that I was a little too comfy with doing.

I thought that it worked for me, but I ended up noticing that no muscle growth was happening as I didn’t have to push myself hard enough to get anywhere.

In terms of number of reps to do, if you can’t increase the weight, at least increase your number of reps. If you are comfortable with 10 reps on a bench press and have been for a while now, increase the reps to eventually end up outside of your comfort zone instead.

If you do 10 too easily, try to do double that.

sets and reps

What are sets?

A set is an amount of reps, so in other words, once you do a certain number of reps and stop, you have completed a set.

A good example to talk about when explaining reps is when I bought a pull up bar. I never did do pull ups as I only really just used my barbell.

Pull up bar

Source: Amazon

I used to do 3 sets of five reps on the bar, when I was just first starting calisthenics. I worked at it day by day and increased number of reps to ten, as I got used to the bar, and the motion, I got stronger also.

I used the bar regularly and turned my total reps count to 50 a day split between 5 sets.

Sets make your mindset more motivated. Sure, increasing number of reps can make a big change but it’s the repeated exercise, the extra effort you put in to reach the goal number of sets that really improve your results.

Reps or Sets?

In a way I think both reps and sets are equally as important. Reps challenge you and forces you to work until closer to failure as you gradually increase how much you can do.

If you did one set of ten, afterwards you wouldn’t feel as ripped or worked compared to if you did 5 sets of the same number.

It’s a combination of both constantly pushing yourself(reps), and maintaining your mindset(sets) that would really help you reach your targets and eventually gain muscle.

That was another Mizfit Transformation Tuesday for you Mizfits, subscribe to see me soon.