Mar 21, 2015

Does It Really Matter How Many Exercise Reps You Do?

So you bench pressed or did those squats or lifted those weights. What next? Make sure you're doing them enough. Here's everything you need to know about doing fitness reps.

Since I started working out when I was 15-16 years old, I have heard so many non sense stories and ways of working out that you would all be shocked to hear. I bet you all have over heard someone at your gym trying to teach a new kid “how he got ripped in a month”.

I remember like it was yesterday. First week in the gym, didn’t know much what I was doing, so this older dude get to me and said; “I remember when I was your age… bla bla bla”. You all know that guy right? lol. Conversation keeps going and then he goes “Do 15 reps to get cut and 8 reps to get big”. I was like, Wow dude is it that simple?. I hope you didn’t fall for that one.

Let’s see why “count reps” matter and when you should stop counting…


“8 reps = big | 15 reps = cut “

For so many years, gym rats have used this information but without giving enough data where they got it from. It is not a total wrong concept if you understand what it really means.

Let’s make an example:

1st Example: You are doing a bench press with a good resistance, so you can do it with a good form. You are on your 8 rep count but you feel that you could still do some more reps. Should you just stop there because you reached your 8 reps count? NO! Your muscle will only get in hypertrophy mode ( start growing ) when you push it to your limit. Got it?

2nd example: you are doing a bench press with some resistance. You get to your 15 reps without really pushing yourself. If you are doing that many reps, that means you don’t have enough resistance, so you should add more to start failing with less reps.

You got it?! You will not be stopping at 8 reps because you want to grow and you shouldn’t be doing 15-20 reps without resistance because “you want to get cut”. For both growing and cutting, you should be doing exercises with resistance. What will make you lose weight or gain are a mix of DIET, Cardio and Weightlifting; not your rep count.

What i Do For My Workout

56188917 Back in the day when I started lifting weight, I used to count the reps in my head but now I don’t count anymore. Not because it doesn’t matter, it is just because I got to a point where it is automatic to me. I know if I am doing more than 10-12 reps I should add more resistance to my exercise.

Like I said, I don’t count anymore because I have many years of doing this and it just feel natural to me, but if you are starting, count your reps so you are not doing too much or too little.

I also don’t like if I have a spotter and he is counting my reps. I just lose focus and somehow I don’t push the extra few reps that I need to. “Anyone feel like this?”

If you are training with a spotter, tell him to help you when he sees that you are failing the rep. I had this guy spotting me once that he would help me to lift on the 3rd and 4th rep and then he stopped. Doesn’t that just kills your whole set ? :p

1-RM or One Repetition Maximum baby how many reps

If you haven’t heard about the term 1-rm before, it means:

The maximum amount of resistance/force you can do in one repetition.

This method is used to measure the maximum strength of an individual and you will see this at powerlifting/weightlifting competitions or a dude at your closest gym.

In my opinion, when you want to mess with 1-rm you are entering a “more dangerous place”. Why? Think about how many things that can happen before you try your max in a machine.

I do respect a lot the athletes that practice these sports but that’s definitely not for me. Their focus is not on creating a nice toned body, but eat and train so they can lift more every time.

I have been asked many times “How much you bench?” or “How Much do you Squat?”. For me, it doesn’t matter how much you lift if you don’t have a nice body. I can care less how much weight I load a machine if I can’t do it with a good form.

I hope you will never go through what I did when I had a full pec tear doing too much weight on the bench machine.


Understand that your results will come when you surpass your comfort zone. If your workout is feeling comfortable and “doable”, see what you can do to improve it.

Remember these points:

  • Don’t do less than 6 reps.
  • Don’t go over 15 reps.
  • You shouldn’t stop at your goal rep if you can still do more.
  • Try to push 2-3 more reps when you start failing.

Hope you enjoyed this post and make sure you leave a comment below.


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