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How Many Reps and Sets Should I Do to Build Muscle?

Exactly How Many Reps and Sets You Need to Do to Build Muscle and Get Strong

Starting out on a weightlifting workout plan can get confusing and overwhelming: Exactly how much weight should I be lifting? How many reps should I do? How many sets? And what should be the rest time in between?

Fortunately, personal trainer Max Weber, NASM, ACE, set the record straight with an Instagram post. He breaks down the three common goals people have when they lift weights: getting stronger, building muscle, and improving endurance. To get stronger, he recommends three to 10 sets, each consisting of one to six reps, and only two to five minutes of rest in between.

To build muscle, he advises three to five sets and six to 12 reps, with only one to two minutes of rest in between. If you're looking to improve endurance, he says to do two to four sets with 12-20 reps, and 30-60 seconds of rest in between.

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Although Max posted these general guidelines, he also added that if you have more than one goal — i.e. you want to build muscle and improve endurance — you should incorporate both into your training program. "Just because your primary goal is strength, or building muscle, or endurance, this does not mean you cannot do the other sets and rep ranges in your workout program," he wrote in his caption. "In fact, this might be the most optimal way to train, by leveraging a combination of all three types of training styles."

Use these guidelines as a helpful cheat sheet next time you hit the weight room.

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