We’re diving into some details and suggestions on how many reps for strength exercises.

Last week we reviewed exercise prescription at a high level, which takes you through the different types of exercise to choose from.

Watch the video or read below:


Strength is where you can lift, pull or carry heavier items. It’s not just for those that want to do some heavy lifting and weight training.

It’s really useful for a whole variety of different activities.

If you’re wanting to strengthen, you want to increase the load or the weight, and the more that you can increase this weight, the more effective your strength training will be.

Figure out your load/weight to use for your strength exercises

During the exercise prescription video, we spoke about finding 1RM (one rep max). The definition of 1RM is the maximum weight that you can possibly lift in one repetition.

In order to strength train, you want to be working at a percent of this one RM. You don’t want to be working at your maximum weight the whole time.

How many reps for strength. Find your 1RM to help determine load

Suggestions for Load:

  • New/novice – 60% to 70% of your 1RM
  • Advanced – 80% and above


Take the leg press (where you’ve got your foot resting on the plate and you’re pushing the plate away in returning).

How many reps for strength. Example leg press mahcine.

e.g. leg press

For ease of calculation, take your 1RM to be 100kg. Suggested load:

  • New/novice – 60-70kg
  • Advanced – 80kg or more

How many reps for strength? Leg press example.

Repetitions and Sets

8-12 repetitions

3 sets


Resting in between the sets is really important.

2-3 minutes

Now, we’d suggest in that two to three minutes that you can go off and you can do another exercise that is perhaps just a bit different from the strength one you’re doing. You can then go back to complete your second and third sets.

Time under Tension

You want a slow to moderate time under tension. Time under tension means the time it takes for you to complete one repetition of the exercise. As a suggestion for novice people or people that are fairly new to the exercise, start off with just 1-2 seconds under load.

If you increase this time under tension (slowing things down), the more benefit you will gain from it.


Here’s a summary slide of what we’ve discussed above. Load, how many reps for strength exercises, sets, time under tension, and rest (which is very important).

How many reps for strength? Summary slide



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