Series and repeatsctions at the gym, how many do I do to get good results?
The number of sets and repetitions is a fundamental part of any training plan, although it is often left to chance.
As a rule, there are 2 or 3 sets per exercise and between 10 and 12 repetitions. For everything.
Although there is no magic number, we will present you with a guide to help you organize your your plan effectively, and above all, adapt according to the your situation.
Before we move on to the number of sets and reps, there is one factor we need to address first.
So let's get started.
Number of weekly workouts
First, you need to define the number of times you will train weekly.
Only then should you decide the number of sets and repetitions you are going to do.
Imagine two friends, António and José.
Both want to gain muscle mass, but while António decides to go training five times a week, José has little time available and can only go three times.
They talk to Joaquim, the gym instructor, and go through the same ABC training.
The exercises are the same and the number of sets and repetitions are the same.
António would have a much higher training volume, and if he was well organized, probably better results.
This does not mean that José is condemned to have less results than António, or that António will necessarily have better results than his friend.
This means that it is essential to know the number of workouts per week to decide the number of sets and repetitions to use.
Okay, that makes sense, now what?
Now, José, who will train fewer times per week, must do more repetitions and sets per training, while António can more easily distribute the necessary volume per week.
By reaching a similar volume per week, José would be able to obtain similar results to António, going to the gym less often, but with greater effort per training.
António, on the other hand, didn't run the risk of giving up after two weeks because he couldn't recover between each training session and could do shorter training sessions.
Attention, obviously this would all have to be well planned.
José theoretically has to compensate for the few training sessions he does, but he will have to be intelligent when doing so. and depending on your training level, you may or may not increase the volume immediately, or gradually.
In short, to define the number of sets and repetitions you will do per workout, you need to know how many workouts you will do per week.
Number of repetitions
After defining the number of times you want to go to the gym, you can now move on to the number of repetitions.
First of all, don't forget that there is no magic number, but there are numbers that will give you a good basis to build your plan.
So, here's what you want to know.
For hypertrophy, the ideal is to use between 80 and 210 repetitions per week for each muscle.
Please note, this is the number of repetitions per week, and not necessarily per training.
The more advanced you are, the more reps you'll need, but if you've just joined the gym, 80 reps is a good starting point.
You can divide these repetitions into two workouts, and according to studies, it is better to train the muscle twice a week instead of just once.
This does not mean that it is mandatory to do so, and it is possible to get good results by training just once.
Finally, larger muscles like the legs need a greater training volume, while smaller muscles like the biceps need less.
You will see one of the reasons below.
And how many series should I do?
Now that you know the number of repetitions you should do per week, you need to define the number of sets.
Once again, there is no right number, but for hypertrophy the ideal is to use between 6 and 12 repetitions per set in most exercises.
This equates to about 70% to 80% of your maximum repetition.
In practice, it means that you will use a load that will give you some difficulties in the last repetitions, and in which in the last repetition you could do at most one more repetition, and sometimes none more.
For more accurate results, you can also calculate your maximum repetition for the various exercises.
This will ensure that you are training with a good intensity to improve.
Pedro has been going to the gym for 6 months and is already noticing some results.
He will now start a new plan, and has chosen to do 120 repetitions a week to work his chest, and use 10 repetitions in each series.
This means that Pedro can choose to do 3 exercises, with 4 sets in each one or 4 exercises with 3 sets in each one.
This can be done in just one weekly workout, or divided into two workouts.
The 10 repetitions are just an example, and the idea is to reach 120 repetitions within 6 to 12 repetitions, to achieve a good intensity.
Although the recommendation is between 6 and 12 repetitions, this does not mean that you cannot go above or below this number, just that a large part of your training should be done at this number of repetitions.
You can sometimes use lower repetitions to work on strength, and sometimes higher repetitions, which also bring some advantages.
Finally, if you like to do a warm-up set with half the weight beforehand, that set will not count towards your weekly total.
80 to 210 reps per muscle, is that it?
Yes and no.
There is another important factor to take into account.
What does this mean?
You must take into account the muscles used by the exercises you choose.
When you do barbell rows back You also work your biceps, but when you do seated biceps curls, you don't work your back.
This doesn't mean that you don't need, or shouldn't, work small muscles, just that you should adapt your training, and reduce the number of repetitions for these muscles.
There are no magic numbers, but as you can see, there are bases to help you build an effective training plan.
Depending on how long you have been in the gym, you should aim for 80 to 210 repetitions per muscle, and take into account the muscles worked in each exercise.
Furthermore, the ideal is to work most of the time in the range of 6 to 12 repetitions per series, and find out what works best for you.
There are muscles that respond better to low repetitions, while others respond better to higher repetitions.
Finally, you still have the question of how many times you should train each muscle per week, and studies indicate that twice is better than once.
There are those who prefer one, and there are those who prefer two or even three.
The truth is that the more advanced you are, the more training volume you need, and spreading that volume over two workouts brings several advantages.
Use these numbers as a reference to create your training plan, but don't forget to evaluate what works best for you, and use that to your advantage.
Sources The numbers presented in this article are based in part on the analysis carried out by the authors Mathias Wernbom and Jesper Augustsson in this article, and in the adaptations and data used in the book The muscle and strength pyramid training by authors Eric Helms, Andy Morgan and Andrea Valdez.