Your rep range can make or break your training. Train with too few reps and you won’t grow. Train with too many reps at too light a weight and you won’t grow.

However, the number of reps can help you train towards certain goals such as strength over muscle gain.

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That’s not to say you won’t build muscle with lower rep ranges — just look at powerlifters, they’re jacked!

And strength in the form of progressive overload must be a focal point if you are to continue to grow while training hard at the gym.

The Best Rep Range For You

These are crucial in determining the purpose of your training. It is widely accepted that the following rep ranges serve different purposes.

1-5 reps: strength training

6-15 reps: hypertrophy

15+ reps: endurance

rep ranges reps in reserve
How to choose a rep range

Now, it is up to you to pick and choose which rep range is closest aligned to your goals.


You should be training with a mixture of all three rep ranges for best results.

As we’ve previously mentioned, progressive overload is the meat and potatoes to gaining strength and muscle in the gym.

You must continue to get stronger in order to gain more muscle in the long term.

There’s a reason why Ronnie Coleman, Kai Greene, et al were all brutally strong in their prime: muscle.

More muscle means more weight shifted.

More weight shifted means more potential for muscle growth.

However, this is a simplistic view of training and we must consider other, more subjective, factors to gain a complete view of the puzzle.

We have dozens of training programs and strategies for you to hit your goals. Check them out here.

Reps in Reserve & Training Intensity

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At the end of the day, it will be your training intensity that will inform much of your success in the gym.

If you train like a pussy, you will not grow very much.

A good way to gauge intensity is to train with Reps in Reserve for each set.

You should aim for 1-3 reps in reserve. If you can hit a set for 12 reps, go for 10 reps, leaving a couple in the tank.

But on your final set, you should train as close to failure as possible, leaving one shaky rep in reserve — or even none.

Do try to avoid complete failure week in, week out as it may affect your progress.

As you become more advanced, you may consider adding RPE or Rate of Perceived Exertion into your training program — especially if you’re a strength athlete or training in a calorie deficit which may affect your performance.

Your training intensity must increase each time by lifting heavier loads or more reps.

By selecting a rep range for your primary lifts that most closely resembles your goals (strength 1-5)(hypertrophy 6-12), you can build the remainder of your training program around what you want to achieve.

Strength athletes should consider building muscle in their training program by including higher rep ranges.

Bodybuilders may consider lowering the rep range on occasion to build more strength.

As long as your training intensity is on point, you will make gains — provided your nutrition and rest isn’t half-bad either.

Smaller muscles can handle more volume than larger muscles. You can make good progress with 4 sets of 15 reps with triceps extensions, but not so much with the deadlift.


Because the level of fatigue induced by the Deadlift will be greater.

And, furthermore, your post-training recovery time after Deadlifting for such high volume will be longer.

Higher rep ranges for smaller muscles such as triceps, biceps, deltoids, forearms can be tolerated with higher frequencies.

I personally believe a training program with a bit of all rep ranges makes for a more well-rounded lifter.

We have dozens of training programs and strategies for you to hit your goals. Check them out here.

Don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected] for personalized coaching and a client questionnaire if you’d like DEDICATED tailor-made personal training on strength training, building muscle, losing fat, developing athleticism, and more — all to your liking, lifestyle, habits, and taste!

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