How many sets? How many repetitions? These are common questions for most gym-goers as they either begin or change their fitness routines.

So how many sets and reps should you perform? That depends on your goals. Ultimately, ensure that each rep (no matter which number) is done correctly to prevent injury and help give you the best results.

Beginner/general fitness
A couple of sets of higher repetitions. 12-25 depending on the movement. Compound movements like squats, deadlifts and pressing should be 2-3 sets in the 12-15 rep range and isolation movements like triceps press-downs should be 2-3 sets at 15-25 reps. The goal here should be learning to “groove the movement”, meaning learning how to tighten the muscles and stay in good position.

Two to three sets of 15 or more repetitions at about 50-60% intensity

Muscle growth
Three to six sets of six to twelve repetitions up to 65-75% intensity

3-6 sets of as many reps as possible at 80-90% of your 1 Rep Maximum

Dynamic muscular power
5-10 Sets of 2-3 reps using light weights (30-40% of 1RM) and very quick rest (30-60 seconds). The goal here is speed of movement while keeping the body “tight” throughout the movement.

These are general guidelines only, as every body is different and will react differently to these plans. First, chart out your goals and try these different strategies to see how your body responds to each type to help you reach your goals. Change it up if you’ve been on the same approach for 3-6 weeks, as the body typically responds well to new challenges, variations and techniques.

It is also important to keep in mind that you will have off days where you may not lift as much or as many as you had in your previous workout. Try to keep up a solid sleep schedule, hydration and food plan to ensure that you are set up for success and attaining your goals.