New to Workout? Here's a Beginner's Guide to Sets, Repetitions and Rest Intervals to Help You Get Started

To get started with any exercise, you need to define how many sets, repetitions and rest intervals are required (Image via Pexels/Leon Ardho)
To get started with any exercise, you need to define how many sets, repetitions and rest intervals are required (Image via Pexels/Leon Ardho)

If you are new to workouts and exercise, the chances are high that you will get confused with the number of sets, repetitions and rest intervals mentioned in every exercise routine. You don’t need to worry anymore. This article will clear all your confusion and help you understand what these terms mean.

Weight-training plans are built around sets, repetitions and rest intervals. To achieve your objectives, you must understand what they mean and how to combine them effectively.

Volume and intensity are two of the most crucial parts of a successful strength training programme. For any exercise, volume refers to the number of sets and reps completed, whereas intensity relates to the amount of resistance employed.

To figure out how many sets, repetitions and rest intervals you should have, as well as how much weight to utilise, you'll need to first set a clear goal. What do you want to get out of strength training?

Depending on whether you're training for fitness, muscle growth, strength, power, or endurance, the weight you use, the number of sets, repetitions and rest intervals you take, along with the speed at which you do them will vary.

Sets, Repetitions and Rest Intervals - What’re all this?

To get started with any exercise, you need to define how many sets, repetitions, and rest intervals are required. Before that, you need to know what these terms stand for.


Rep is an acronym for repetition. The number of reps you do in an activity refers to how many times you repeat it without stopping. This is the total range of motion you'll use to complete an exercise.

In a bicep curl, for example, the whole motion is when the elbow hits full flexion till it is returned to the bottom. Only properly performed reps are counted.


Now that you know what reps are, sets are how you do those reps. A set is a collection of repetitions. The number of sets you do depends on your objectives and the sort of exercise you do.

You can complete a single exercise or a combination of exercises in a set. It's crucial to understand that 3 by 10 squats means three sets of ten reps. So, you'd do ten squats, rest for a minute, and then repeat two more times.


Intervals are all about time, namely how much time you spend working out and how much time you spend resting between sets or exercises.

Intervals are a fabulous way to gain enough rest in between sets and recuperate enough to complete the next set to your full potential. Doing 45 seconds of push-ups and then resting for 15 seconds is an example of an interval period.

Why using sets, repetitions and rest intervals is important?

There are numerous advantages to organising your training with sets, repetitions, and rest intervals. For starters, they can help you determine your baseline strength and track your improvement. Strength training can also be simplified by sticking to a set workout routine.

Knowing your reps and setting objectives each time you work out will help you stay motivated when you're tempted to give up. Furthermore, sticking to a sensible number of sets, repetitions and rest intervals for your fitness level might help you avoid harming yourself by accident.

How to choose the number of sets, repetitions and rest intervals?

When selecting how many reps and sets to complete, not to mention which exercises to undertake, there are several vital elements to consider.

If you're new to strength training, meeting with a professional personal trainer who can help you analyse your goals and design a strategy is always a smart option. If hiring a personal trainer isn't an option for you, don't let that stop you from exercising.

The objective is to use your muscles till they are exhausted. Deep muscle fibres will begin to gain strength at this point.

The number of reps necessary will vary depending on your starting strength and the weight you utilise. Lift lighter weights for more reps and bigger weights for fewer reps, as a general rule of thumb.

Before you start to compromise your form, each set should consist of the number of reps you can accomplish with good form. After that, you can recover by taking a planned break between sets.

Muscle growth training

Lighter weights, more repetition and less rest time are used in hypertrophy training for muscle size and bodybuilding. Growing in size and muscle requires metabolic stress.

That entails exerting the muscle till lactate builds up and internal damage occurs, then resting and eating adequately to aid muscle recovery. In the process, the muscle expands.

For people trying to gain muscle, three sets of eight to 12 reps at loads that hit failure point (or close to it) in the last few repetitions is a normal rep and set method.

General fitness training

Strength and muscle-building should be the goals of a basic strength training fitness programme. You can achieve both by doing eight to 15 repetitions in two to four sets.

Choose eight to 12 exercises that target your lower and upper body, as well as your core. To guarantee a sound foundation before trying more goal-specific workouts, don't lift too heavy or too light at this stage.