Weight Training Rep Schemes REVEALED!!!

One of the questions that I get asked most often and are often most annoyed to answer is “how many reps should I do?”

And here’s why: If you EVER have a preset amount of reps that you’re aiming for in your head, then you’re cheating yourself because… YOU’RE NOT WORKING TO EXHAUSTION ON EVERY SET!

Which is ALWAYS something you should be doing. That being said...

There are different uses for different RANGES of sets and which range you use will depend on your fitness goals.

Before I introduce and explain each of the rep schemes, there is one thing that I want everyone reading this to keep in mind.

That is, when you set a range of reps for a set, you’re not working to do that many reps on a specific set and then finish.

Rather, you’re aiming to lift a weight that will cause you to fail between the range that you’ve set. There’s a HUGE difference between these two ideas.

In the first, you’re cheating yourself. You’re telling your body, “I’m going to subject you to this much work and when you reach it, that’s it”. NO… instead, you should be telling your body “I’m going to set a weight so that it will be a challenge for you to do a certain amount of reps with that weight”.

By thinking this way, you’ll continually challenge your body to get stronger and grow bigger.

Now, onto the rep schemes. There are 3 main rep schemes that I use and each of them is used for a specific goal UNLESS it’s a smaller part of a larger fitness plan (which we will talk about in the future).


1) 12-15 reps / 4 – 5 sets

This is often used during the cutting phase of a diet. Aiming to fail at this rep range will help to develop more DEFIINITION and HARDNESS in the muscles.

The reason being that the high amount of repetitions will cause more blood to flow into the muscles and allow more muscle fibers to be recruited and worked.

2) 6-4 reps / 3-4 sets

This is often used during the bulking phase of the diet. Aiming to fail at this rep range will help to develop more SIZE and STRENGTH in the muscles.

Reason being that when you subject your muscles to that type of stress to the point where recruiting all available muscle fibers still cannot deal with the tremendous amount of weight, your muscles have no choice but to grow (put simply since I won’t subject everyone to the science behind the advice).

3) 12-10, 10-8, 8-6, 6-4 / 4 sets

This is often called the pyramid scheme where you get a little bit of endurance training and a little bit of strength training.

Honestly, I’m not entirely sure on the reasoning of this rep scheme except to say that I usually use this scheme when I’m trying to maintain weight or progress very slowly. It’s good for maintaining muscle mass and gradually building both size and definition (with the right diet of course).

4) 3-1 rep/6 sets

Now I know I said that there were 3 main schemes that I use… but I want to introduce this scheme here because it’s important to address.

I never personally use this rep scheme but its main use is for building strength. That is, a lot of power-lifters aim for this range of reps mainly to build strength.

Until Next Time,