How Many Sets and Reps Should You Do When Lifting Weights?

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The best set and rep ranges for building muscle and gaining strength.

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How many sets and reps should you do to build muscle?

– Some people say “high reps for cutting” and “low reps for bulking”.

– Some say “go heavy or go home” and recommend heavy high intensity training.

– Others like to train a bit lighter and go for the pump and burn while keeping the muscles under tension for longer periods of time.

But which set and rep pattern is the best one and which one should you use in your workouts?

Well, unfortunately there is no short and simple answer to this question. The topic of sets and reps is actually quite complex because you can make progress with all the different set and rep combos as long as you are training in a progressive overload fashion.

In this video we’re going to discuss the 3 basic muscle fiber types that are in the body and how training with different set and rep patterns can stimulate those muscle fibers for maximum muscle growth.


Ahmed Zia says:

Hi Mr Haywood I was wondering since I'm a beginner at the gym and go 1nce a week what is the max amount of machines I should use

Blue Chucks says:

I've been doing 20×20 & ive been making all kinds of gains

Steve Mack says:

Lee, I follow a 10-8-6-15 type routine (actually 15-12-10-15+) but as drop sets. So the rep counts are only approximate targets since I work to failure for each set. Any comments on drop sets versus adding weight across the set count for the Gironda method? Thanks.

Steve Mack says:

Re: 10-8-6-15 set/reps. Retired bodybuilder Markus Rühl recommends a flavor of that set/rep sequence. He finishes with a 15-20 reps set using a light weight. His key point (in German) is that at the last set with light weight, return to very strict form including a noticeable pause at the isometric point and a slow eccentric move back to the starting point. He believes that it is that form discipline on the last set that drives muscle development.

Jake Kay says:

Good video Lee

Sabir Abdul-Lateef says:

Hey Lee,
I need some advice, it seems that the left side of my chest is a bit more flabby than the right side.whats strange is the left side is my strength; I throw up more weight with my left. Any suggestions?

Neal Francis says:

Great advice as always mate , I agree finishing with a 15 rep on a fatigued muscle torches it 👍

Jesse Gordon says:

These are the most informative bodybuilding videos on YouTube , lee has helped me since the age of 15 when I started bodybuilding, really appreciate these videos, even lees tone of voice and politeness can be appreciated 🙏

Bethann Mullen says:

when i started it was 3 set 10. Now I am experiment and find compound excersises at more reps different reps is fun and works me out nicely. And you are right you need to stick with it for a bit to see how it works and how muscles adapts too. Makes working out more interesting.

Mr _X says:

Lee, you're the best coach on YouTube.

Joe Jones says:

Hey Lee. Your thoughts on pyramid sets?

Apollo Sun says:

Awesome, Im going to try the 10/8/6/15 tonight!

Gavin Ganzorig says:

Hey, Lee! I've been working out for little over a year now and I see that Im getting stronger and muscle growth. The thing is im just not gaining weight. I've been 180lb for so long

incredibleboy22 says:

Would you say high reps burns more calories? if I'm trying to lose weight

Jonny Deth says:

The most popular question ever.
I won't excessively rant and rant like usual but look at it this way.
How much are you pushing and pulling?
Heavy resistance is low reps low sets.
Moderate resistance is high reps high sets.
Low resistance is absurdly high reps to failure for as many sets as you can tolerate.
I think the one thing nobody talks about is studies show if you go long enough with the low or moderate resistance you will trigger all 3 types granted the magnitude of activation and duration won't be at maximum efficiency for all fiber types.
I still say beginners should start with the moderate level for high reps and high sets until they learn their body. A lot less injuries in the world if they did.

I rant because I'm one of those beat up guys that has to take the middle ground for about 6 months focusing on type 2A before I push myself for more strength. That being said there's no shortage of guys that after 20 years hit 35 and are like "wtf my joints are starting to hurt" and usually before a joint goes, they have some form of connective tissue injury and end up under the knife there's plenty of youtube stars that have this story. They've gone for almost nothing but raw power the entire time and will end up where I ended up through slowly beating myself up, overnight.

Advection357 says:

After a year of training I found out I respond best to the standard rep range… 8-12
But sometimes I go for 5-6 rep power phases

Mike Green says:

can u write me a diet out buddy?

ChalkTalkTV says:

I hit a bit of a plateau doing 8-12 reps. Lately I have transitioned to lower rep, higher weight and I'm seeing fast results.

I do upper body/lower body split so I really go all out on all 4 days. The higher weight is grueling but, like I said, I'm getting results again.

Thanks for the videos and tips, Lee!

Tostaderia Morelos says:

hi……saludos desdee Mexico!!!

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