How Many Reps Are The Right Amount?

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How many reps should you do on your exercises when you lift weights for fat loss?

The human body has different muscle groups and not all muscles are the same size or even type.
 Small muscles respond better to higher reps.
 Big muscles respond well to both higher reps and lower reps.

There are 6 big lifts that will target the “big muscles” when you lift weights which involve lots of muscles working together at the same time and in order to maximize your time and effort, you have to think differently about these movements when compared to others.

The big lifts:
 squat
 deadlift
 shoulder press
 bench press
 pullup
 row

With these lifts, it’s okay to leave 1 rep left in the tank on your sets. Yes, this may seem counter intuitive because you want to grind it out and leave it all on the gym floor, but if you leave a rep left in the tank, you are not going to fry your adrenal system (the electrical network of nerves going through your body).

The truth is, if you empty your tank every single time you go to the gym you will fry your central nervous system (CNS).
This means your nerves are going to get tired. And that will affect your sleep. You will be tired. Cranky. Moody. It will affect your efforts in building lean muscle as your hormones will be off.  It will even your sex drive!!!

The moral of the story… Your trainer or the workout you are following has put care and consideration into your workout program so try to stay within the rep scheme for the big lifts with the most challenging weight you can perform perfectly while
leaving 1 rep in the tank.

Tip – The method of leaving 1 rep in the tank can best be thought of by anticipating if you can complete your next rep with perfect form. If not, don’t attempt the next rep. If you are failing on your reps or lifts this is not leaving a rep 1 rep in the tank.

If you are training strength you will want to work in the 1-5 rep range. If you want to train for muscle building you will want to train in the 6-12 rep range. If you want to train for muscle endurance you will want to train in the 12+ rep range. If you
want to train for fat loss, you will want to train all of the above!

So let’s say you are working a smaller muscle like the bicep in a bicep curl… This is an isolation exercise for a small muscle group and should typically be done with 8 reps or more. With these smaller muscles, you don’t have to worry as much about following the prescribed amount of reps.  In fact, do as many reps as you can… Then do 5 more! That’s the pain period. That’s where the results are at!

For these small muscle group exercises, it all comes down to mind over matter, and the pain period you experience in your muscles at the end of your set. A pain period that is synonymous with life… No one wants to go through this, but that’s where the results are.

And with a consistent focus on progressive overload (lifting more weight or doing more reps in subsequent weeks and workouts) complemented with good nutrition, you”ll be 1 step closer to achieving your fat loss goals.

Committed to your success,
Josh Saunders, BS, CSCS

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