Guide to Resistance Training

Resistance training

Guide to Resistance Training

This is a guide on how to determine the correct amount of sets, repetitions and load of an exercise, based on your specific needs. ​Always​ consult with your physician before beginning a new exercise routine, as well as a qualified exercise professional, such as a physical therapist or a certified personal trainer, to decide which exercise prescription is right for you.


1 Repetition Maximum​ ​(or 1RM) ​= The maximum amount of weight you can lift with failure

after 1 repetition.

%1RM (or load)​= Percentage of weight you can lift related to your 1RM. Ex. If your 1RM bicep curl = 10lbs, your 80% 1RM= 8lbs.

Sets: ​How many cycles of the exercise is performed
Repetitions​: How many times you perform that exercise in each cycle Rest​: How long you should rest between each set

Goal: Improve strength

Sets: 2-6 Repetitions: 2-5 Rest: 2-5 min Load: ​>​85% 1RM

Goal: Improve muscle bulk

Sets: 3-6 Repetitions: 6-12 Rest: 45 s – 1 min Load: 67-85% 1RM

Goal: Improve muscle endurance

Sets: 2-3 Repetitions: 12-20 Rest between sets: 30 s Load: ​<​67% 1RM

Frequency of resistance training

Beginner: 2-3 days per week Intermediate: 3-4 days per week Advanced: 4-7 days per week

Haff, G., & Triplett, N. T. (2016). ​Essentials of strength training and conditioning.​ Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.


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