Pete Griggs


Rep Ranges for Resistance Training

Personal Fitness

Here is what I teach my personal training clients about resistance training.

Ever been to the weight rack at the gym and thought “Hmm which ones should I pick up”. The answer to this question depends on your goals.

Now you may have heard of the reps ranges high reps for toning, low reps for strength training. I will elaborate on these for you.

16-20 reps, generally considered the toning range, a weight heavy enough to allow you to perform this amount of reps will work the muscle involved in lifting it without causing it to grow in size or build up significant strength.

Side note: ‘Toning is one of those words that is often misused by everyone, I have personal training clients who want to get toned and think they need to do weights, doing weights is part of the answer but what they actually want is to get lean, when you see a toned person you are looking at a lean person i.e. they don’t have a lot of fat on them so their muscles show up through their skin, fatter peoples muscles don’t show up because they are covered by fat. So to get toned shift the fat. I tell my to personal training clients to do some resistance but also focus on diet and cardio to shift the fat.

10-12 reps, this is considered to be the muscle building range, lifting weights in this range causes the most hypertrophy, a process whereby you break down a muscle and it rebuilds itself bigger.

<8 reps, going this low in the reps is best for strength training because you have to recruit the maximum amount of muscle fibres available to push out the heavy weight. So select what range you want according to your goals. A critical point that I tell my personal training clients is to make sure the weight you select is heavy enough that it does not allow you to go out of your rep range. So it you are aiming for 20 reps select a weight heavy enough so you can only just do 20 reps, if you can do 21 reps it is too light go heavier. The last couple of reps of any range should be very tough and you should only just be able to complete them giving it 110%! I generally tell people I personal train to do resistance training 3-4 times a week making sure you cover all muscle groups, doing this should suit most people fine. To book a session or for comments and questions call or e-mail me: E-mail: Phone: 07947 049889 Please Read Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the above articles are those of the authors and theirs alone. Information in the articles is not to be taken as medical advice, please consult you doctor before undertaking any type of exercise programme especially if you have any medical conditions.

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