Reps, Rest and Results

Reps, Rest and Results

Regardless of what body part you are exercising, it is always advisable to experiment with a variety of rep ranges and rest periods to see what yields the best results for you. Changing your reps and rest time also facilitates ongoing growth by your body from acclimating to a consistent routine.

When adjusting your number of reps and rest periods between sets; you should always decrease rest time as you increase reps/decrease weight and vice versa. For instance, when working biceps you could use the following reps/rest times:

  • 5 x 5 with 120 seconds rest between sets
  • 3 x 8-12 with 75 seconds rest between sets
  • 4 x 12-15 with 30 seconds rest between sets

Using alternate rep ranges/rest periods is a great way to add a little spice into your training. Keep in mind that you might have to lower the weight you lift to complete more rep intensive sets with perfect form.

Benefits of Different Reps and Rest periods

5(sets) x 5(reps) workouts with 2-minute rests will maximise the mechanical tension placed on your muscle. This is will help greatly with protein synthesis and neuromuscular improvements. It is recommended to lift heavier weights with this workout to produce the most strength gains.


4(sets) x 12-15(reps) with 30-second rests will maximise metabolic fatigue and blood volume response. This workout results in the most hypertrophy (gains) when using your standard sized weights or slightly lighter weights.

3(sets) x 8-12(reps) with 75-second rests will produce a balance of strength and muscle growth. This reps/rest plan is widely used in the fitness community because of the combined results it provides.

When trying to gain size it is vital that stress is put on all components of the muscle cell. Therefore, variety is key so you should dedicate time to each set/rep scheme throughout each workout or week of workouts. Once you have experimented with different reps and rest times you will have a greater understanding of how your body responds to different workouts and subsequently will be able to fine tune your workouts based on your physical goals.


By Xavier Wills

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