You may have heard people in the gym conversing about how many reps they perform and wondered what reps are.
Exercise repetition is one of the key elements of exercising, and here are 2 questions you want to ask.
What are exercise repetitions?
Exercise repetitions simply refer to the number of times you perform a particular exercise within a set.
In other words, it’s the number of times you repeat a complete exercise movement.
If you are performing Pull-Ups, there are 3 steps.
- Starting position.
- Pulling up.
All three steps in one is considered 1 repetition. If you perform this complete exercise movement of pull up for 10 times, your repetition count is 10.
So this raises the next question, how many repetitions should I be doing?
As much as I’d like to give you a clear answer, the right answer is, it depends. Your right repetition count depends on your fitness goal and fitness level.
First, set your fitness goal. Do you want to lose weight or improve your endurance? Is getting stronger your primary concern?
Once your fitness goal is set, you can figure out a range of how many reps you should be doing.
If your goal is to lose weight, your rep range is 8-15 reps. Yes, the range is big, so should you be targeting the lower or higher end of the range? Your fitness level answers the questions.
If you are a beginner, you should be aiming for the higher end of the repetition range, 15 reps. Performing bodyweight exercises to build your core strength, before moving on to free weights.
But with a catch. The weight you lift should be lighter compared to intermediate/advance folks and allow you to complete 12-15 repetitions within a set.
Just because you are starting weight lifting, you don’t need to lift heavy weights on day 1. Pick weights that enable you to do repetitions of 12-15 per set. From this beginning phase, your goal is to increase your weight and decrease your reps as you progress.
If you’re fitness level is intermediate, take the middle range, 10-12 receptions. If you are moving up from the beginner’s range, you should be increasing your weight to the heaviness that allows you to ONLY perform 10-12 reps. Anything less (less reps) means your weights are too heavy. Anything more means your weights are too light. Adjust your weights accordingly to fit the right range.
This simple principle applies to fitness goals other than weight loss too. See the chart above to get the repetition range for your goal.
A word of caution: Always use your own judgment when deciding your repetition count to ensure safety during your weight training. If your body can’t perform additional rep in a proper form, it’s safe to stop.