Weight Lifting Reps

Weightlifting reps

Weight lifting reps, what are they? A rep or repetition with regards to weight training is short for, repetition: one rep is a single cycle of lifting and lowering/pushing or pulling etc., in a controlled manner throughout a weight training exercise.

Once advancement is achieved, there is almost as much going on within each repetition as there is within each set, to an experienced lifter.

There is the concentric or positive portion of the repetition which is usually focusing on the contraction or force against gravity, e.g.( lifting the weight from your waist to your neck).

The second part of the rep or repetition relates to the eccentric portion of the lift, this is the negative portion of lowering the weight back to its original starting position. Where a full stretch at this point is encouraged in most of the weight training exercises.

Age athletic ability and physical condition all comes into play here, but: for the most part, the rep ranges I've outlined below are the most consistent for each level of lifter. 


How to Determine How many Reps For Your Level?

Your rule of thumb for your lifting level should be approximately:

  •  For beginners level: 10 to 12 reps. One to four or five months of        consistent weight training.
     
  • For Intermediate level: 8 to 10 reps. Six months to year and a half of consistent weight training.

  •  Advanced level training: 6 to 8reps. Two or more years of serious consistent weight lifting.

Again, these are guides, but are close in relation to most of these lifting levels, if you’re trying to build size and strength. As time and experience is accumulated these can be adjusted somewhat.

When you have completed e.g. 8 to 10 reps and put down the weight this is now a Set of 8 to 10 weight lifting reps. So for every one new to weight training, this is a first step in understanding some of the terms you will see and become more familiar with, as you progress.   



Should I Stop If I Can Do More Reps?

Weightlifting Reps

Try to be honest with yourself here; after 2 or 3 months of consistent weight training you should not be setting the weight down merely  because you’ve reached the 11 or 12th rep, you should be physically forced to by gravity.  

If you’ve made the effort to start the set, make the effort to finish it. If you go over, by a few repetitions the gods will not strike you down.

All exercises and weight lifting reps have and give benefit: just understanding that the best, overall contraction level for stimulating muscle size, is best received from the 8 to 12 rep range, especially as a beginner/intermediate.

With that said: on the next set you perform of the same exercise try to adjust the barbell/dumbbell to an appropriate weight that puts you in the repetition range as discussed above.

These figures are for guys and gals and yes, I highly encourage all you gals to get out there and try your best. The best muscle building routines will center around 8 to 12 reps per exercise. 

If you have spent 5 or 6 months at a serious beginners level, or are at an intermediate level, use the mirror to look for weaker spots within your physic, and be honest with yourself. At this point; you can begin to adjust your rep range and experiment, find what works best for you as we are all different.  

weight lifting reps can also vary within certain muscle groups, as some muscle groups tend to respond to different rep ranges, such as…

the abdominal's and calf muscles they sometimes have a natural tendency to respond better at 12 to 15 repetitions in certain athletes.

If you’re just after conditioning or general maintenance, your rep range should be in the neighborhood of 12 to 15 reps or until gravity forces you to fail.

If you are a circuit trainer and new as beginner, these weight lifting reps and there ranges will not be out of line for you here either. With respect given to having to adjust the poundage as your rest intervals will be smaller or even non-existent as you advance.

Advanced Weight Lifting Reps


For more advanced or senior intermediates meaning: you have a year and a half to two years of serious weight training to your name. Especially: if you are in a mass and/or strength building cycle/phase, 6 to 8 reps is a safe range for building strength, as listed above.

With regards to your weight lifting reps, these should be performed close to failure, on most of your sets and should be centered around basic compound exercises preformed reasonably strict.

After 8 to 10 weeks of this type of training the body generally needs a break from the mental and physical stress that the body undergoes at this level.

Scheduling a week or so at this point; after this type of training will help rejuvenate sore, tired and over trained muscles, joints and tendons.

This will also help you psychologically as all aspects of your body need this break… After a having a week or so off, I would resume my regular maintenance weight training workouts.


Finding What Works and Keeping it simple!

Well... as with all things these are only guild lines to your success, these are not laws written in stone. I encourage you to experiment here and there with your rep ranges slightly and when you find something that works, exploit it.

Understanding weight lifting reps and their set ranges goes a long ways towards trying to understand weight training itself, it is not complicated. Quite the contrary, it is actually quite simple.

Stress in all of its forms are a hard thing to cope with in life, yet it always seems the simpler you make something, the more fun you have and the better it seems to work... the simplicity of the exercises helps with this, especially in our fast-paced world.

Bring your imaginative and creative side into reps and sets and you will find a big part of your final destination to your success will depend on you doing one thing… enjoying each rep and your time in the gym! DWT.

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