How to Increase Reps

How to Increase Reps

You’ve probably heard that doing 8-12 reps is a good target for your workouts. However, boosting your reps will build your muscle strength and toning.[1] X Research source You might be unsure about the best way to do this, but it’s easier than you might think! Whether you’re doing curls, deadlifts, squats, pushups, or any other exercise, these tricks will help you add more reps to your workout and build strength.

Method 1 of 10:
Start increasing reps when your normal number feels easy.

Image titled Increase Reps Step 1
24 25
3 COMING SOON
1
You get less benefit from your workout if your sets are easy. You want to get a little tired and feel like you have to work to complete your sets. When any of your workouts starts feeling easier, that's good! It means you're getting stronger. Now is the time to step it up with more reps. [2] X Research source This measure works for every workout. If you normally do 20 pushups but don't have too much trouble with that, then it's time to increase. If you normally do 10 reps of a bench press at 150 lb (68 kg) and it's feeling easy, then do more reps. If you still struggle through your sets, then it's not a good idea to add more reps yet. Wait until you get stronger. The other option when your sets feel easy is increasing the weight instead of doing more reps.
Advertisement

Method 2 of 10:
Add one rep at a time to increase slowly.

Image titled Increase Reps Step 2
50 51
6 COMING SOON
1
There’s no rule that says you need to add a lot of reps at once. Adding one at a time is a great way to gradually boost your total number of reps over time. You might be tired at the end of your set, but pause for a second and try to squeeze one more rep out to train your muscles to push through your fatigue point. [3] X Research source For example, if your normal set is 12 reps, then do 13. Over time, you’ll get stronger and be able to do 14, then 15, and so on. Keep the weight the same for this technique if you're doing a weight-training exercise. Make that one addition your new normal number of reps so you’ll get stronger over time and be able to add more. Try gradually working up to 20 reps if you really want to increase the size of your muscles.[4] X Expert Source Laila Ajani Laila Ajani
Fitness Trainer Expert Interview. 31 October 2019.
Advertisement

Method 3 of 10:
Lighten the weight so you can boost your reps.

Image titled Increase Reps Step 3
23 24
9 COMING SOON
1
Try dropping down to about 50% of your current exercise weight. Then do as many reps as you can with that new weight to find an ideal set length. [5] X Research source If you normally curl 30 lb (14 kg), switch to 15 lb (6.8 kg) and try to do double the reps. Conventional gym wisdom says that doing more reps with a lighter weight is good for endurance and definition, but more recent research shows that it’s also a great way to build muscle strength. Doing more reps with lighter weight is great for people with injuries or joint problems. This might not be possible for exercises that you’re not using weights for, like pushups or pullups.
Advertisement

Method 4 of 10:
Do a smaller number of reps multiple times per day.

Image titled Increase Reps Step 4
47 48
4 COMING SOON
1
You don’t have to do all of your sets at once to boost your reps. The “grease the groove” method is a bodybuilding trick to build muscle strength without spending hours exercising. Basically, cut the normal number of reps you do in half. Then do the workout every few hours throughout the day. By the end of the day, you’ll have done a lot more reps than a normal workout. After 2-4 weeks, try doing more reps in a single set. [6] X Research source If you’re trying to do more curls and normally do a set of 12, do 6 reps 4-5 times throughout the day. After 2-4 weeks, see how many you can do in a single set now. This is a great trick to use with workouts like pushups or pullups, since they’re easy to do quickly and don’t require weights. There are a few versions of greasing the groove, so some trainers might give different instructions.
Advertisement

Method 5 of 10:
Switch to lighter weights right after a normal set.

Image titled Increase Reps Step 5
26 27
8 COMING SOON
1
This is called drop-setting, and it's a great way to boost your strength. Do a normal set with the weight that you usually use. When you complete the set, switch to weights half as heavy and do another full set. Over time, you’ll build strength and be able to add more reps to your normal set. [7] X Research source You might not be able to do a full set with the lighter weight at first. This is fine, just do as many reps as you can. This also won’t work for exercises that you don’t use weights for, like pushups.
Advertisement

Method 6 of 10:
Do an extra set to build your overall strength.

Image titled Increase Reps Step 6
27 28
4 COMING SOON
1
Doing more sets in total is a good way to add more reps slowly. Add 1 more set of the exercise to your normal workout. [8] X Research source When you’ve been doing this for a few weeks, try adding more reps to each set, since you’ll be a lot stronger. This works well if you don’t want to decrease the weight you use or you’re doing an exercise that doesn’t use weights. If you normally do 2 sets of 15 pushups, do 3 instead. Then after 2 weeks, try doing 2 sets of 20 to see if you can handle it.
Advertisement

Method 7 of 10:
Maintain good form while you’re doing more reps.

Image titled Increase Reps Step 7
13 14
5 COMING SOON
1
Never sacrifice form for more reps. It’ll especially get tough to hold your form when you’re doing a lot of reps because you’ll start getting tired. Pay particular attention and make sure you’re keeping good form for every rep. [9] X Research source If you can’t maintain your form, then stop the set. This means you’ve worked out hard enough, and you could hurt yourself if you use bad form.
Advertisement

Method 8 of 10:
Do 2-3 sessions per week to build your strength.

Image titled Increase Reps Step 8
38 39
9 COMING SOON
1
Consistency is key to increasing your reps. For strength-training, a regular schedule of 2-3 sessions per week will help train your muscles and boost your number of reps gradually. [10] X Trustworthy Source HelpGuide Nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free, evidence-based mental health and wellness resources. Go to source Leave 24-48 hours in between your strength workouts so your muscles have time to heal. You won’t be doing much good if you push your muscles so hard that they can’t heal. On the other days, you can do some cardio or stretching exercises instead.
Advertisement

Method 9 of 10:
Include cardio to build your muscle endurance.

Image titled Increase Reps Step 9
14 15
9 COMING SOON
1
Doing a lot of reps is an endurance workout, so more cardio will help. On days that you aren’t doing a strength workout, focus on some endurance work like running, swimming, or cycling. This gives you enough muscle endurance to push through more reps. [11] X Research source The general recommendation is to get at least 150 minutes of cardio work each week, or about 30 minutes on 5 days.[12] X Trustworthy Source HelpGuide Nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free, evidence-based mental health and wellness resources. Go to source
Advertisement

Method 10 of 10:
Breathe out when you exert and in when you rest.

Image titled Increase Reps Step 10
23 24
10 COMING SOON
1
Proper breathing will help avoid muscle fatigue and boost your reps. No matter which exercise you're doing, always control your breathing and follow a consistent pattern. Inhale when you rest, hold it, and then exhale while you're exerting. [13] X Research source If you're doing curls, inhale when your arms are down and exhale when you curl up. This works with non-weight exercises too. If you're doing pushups, exhale when you push yourself up and inhale when you relax back down.
Advertisement

Method 1 of 10:
Start increasing reps when your normal number feels easy.

Image titled Increase Reps Step 1
24 25
3 COMING SOON
1
You get less benefit from your workout if your sets are easy. You want to get a little tired and feel like you have to work to complete your sets. When any of your workouts starts feeling easier, that's good! It means you're getting stronger. Now is the time to step it up with more reps. [2] X Research source This measure works for every workout. If you normally do 20 pushups but don't have too much trouble with that, then it's time to increase. If you normally do 10 reps of a bench press at 150 lb (68 kg) and it's feeling easy, then do more reps. If you still struggle through your sets, then it's not a good idea to add more reps yet. Wait until you get stronger. The other option when your sets feel easy is increasing the weight instead of doing more reps.
Advertisement

Method 2 of 10:
Add one rep at a time to increase slowly.

Image titled Increase Reps Step 2
50 51
6 COMING SOON
1
There’s no rule that says you need to add a lot of reps at once. Adding one at a time is a great way to gradually boost your total number of reps over time. You might be tired at the end of your set, but pause for a second and try to squeeze one more rep out to train your muscles to push through your fatigue point. [3] X Research source For example, if your normal set is 12 reps, then do 13. Over time, you’ll get stronger and be able to do 14, then 15, and so on. Keep the weight the same for this technique if you're doing a weight-training exercise. Make that one addition your new normal number of reps so you’ll get stronger over time and be able to add more. Try gradually working up to 20 reps if you really want to increase the size of your muscles.[4] X Expert Source Laila Ajani Laila Ajani
Fitness Trainer Expert Interview. 31 October 2019.
Advertisement

Method 3 of 10:
Lighten the weight so you can boost your reps.

Image titled Increase Reps Step 3
23 24
9 COMING SOON
1
Try dropping down to about 50% of your current exercise weight. Then do as many reps as you can with that new weight to find an ideal set length. [5] X Research source If you normally curl 30 lb (14 kg), switch to 15 lb (6.8 kg) and try to do double the reps. Conventional gym wisdom says that doing more reps with a lighter weight is good for endurance and definition, but more recent research shows that it’s also a great way to build muscle strength. Doing more reps with lighter weight is great for people with injuries or joint problems. This might not be possible for exercises that you’re not using weights for, like pushups or pullups.
Advertisement

Method 4 of 10:
Do a smaller number of reps multiple times per day.

Image titled Increase Reps Step 4
47 48
4 COMING SOON
1
You don’t have to do all of your sets at once to boost your reps. The “grease the groove” method is a bodybuilding trick to build muscle strength without spending hours exercising. Basically, cut the normal number of reps you do in half. Then do the workout every few hours throughout the day. By the end of the day, you’ll have done a lot more reps than a normal workout. After 2-4 weeks, try doing more reps in a single set. [6] X Research source If you’re trying to do more curls and normally do a set of 12, do 6 reps 4-5 times throughout the day. After 2-4 weeks, see how many you can do in a single set now. This is a great trick to use with workouts like pushups or pullups, since they’re easy to do quickly and don’t require weights. There are a few versions of greasing the groove, so some trainers might give different instructions.
Advertisement

Method 5 of 10:
Switch to lighter weights right after a normal set.

Image titled Increase Reps Step 5
26 27
8 COMING SOON
1
This is called drop-setting, and it's a great way to boost your strength. Do a normal set with the weight that you usually use. When you complete the set, switch to weights half as heavy and do another full set. Over time, you’ll build strength and be able to add more reps to your normal set. [7] X Research source You might not be able to do a full set with the lighter weight at first. This is fine, just do as many reps as you can. This also won’t work for exercises that you don’t use weights for, like pushups.
Advertisement

Method 6 of 10:
Do an extra set to build your overall strength.

Image titled Increase Reps Step 6
27 28
4 COMING SOON
1
Doing more sets in total is a good way to add more reps slowly. Add 1 more set of the exercise to your normal workout. [8] X Research source When you’ve been doing this for a few weeks, try adding more reps to each set, since you’ll be a lot stronger. This works well if you don’t want to decrease the weight you use or you’re doing an exercise that doesn’t use weights. If you normally do 2 sets of 15 pushups, do 3 instead. Then after 2 weeks, try doing 2 sets of 20 to see if you can handle it.
Advertisement

Method 7 of 10:
Maintain good form while you’re doing more reps.

Image titled Increase Reps Step 7
13 14
5 COMING SOON
1
Never sacrifice form for more reps. It’ll especially get tough to hold your form when you’re doing a lot of reps because you’ll start getting tired. Pay particular attention and make sure you’re keeping good form for every rep. [9] X Research source If you can’t maintain your form, then stop the set. This means you’ve worked out hard enough, and you could hurt yourself if you use bad form.
Advertisement

Method 8 of 10:
Do 2-3 sessions per week to build your strength.

Image titled Increase Reps Step 8
38 39
9 COMING SOON
1
Consistency is key to increasing your reps. For strength-training, a regular schedule of 2-3 sessions per week will help train your muscles and boost your number of reps gradually. [10] X Trustworthy Source HelpGuide Nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free, evidence-based mental health and wellness resources. Go to source Leave 24-48 hours in between your strength workouts so your muscles have time to heal. You won’t be doing much good if you push your muscles so hard that they can’t heal. On the other days, you can do some cardio or stretching exercises instead.
Advertisement

Method 9 of 10:
Include cardio to build your muscle endurance.

Image titled Increase Reps Step 9
14 15
9 COMING SOON
1
Doing a lot of reps is an endurance workout, so more cardio will help. On days that you aren’t doing a strength workout, focus on some endurance work like running, swimming, or cycling. This gives you enough muscle endurance to push through more reps. [11] X Research source The general recommendation is to get at least 150 minutes of cardio work each week, or about 30 minutes on 5 days.[12] X Trustworthy Source HelpGuide Nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free, evidence-based mental health and wellness resources. Go to source
Advertisement

Method 10 of 10:
Breathe out when you exert and in when you rest.

Image titled Increase Reps Step 10
23 24
10 COMING SOON
1
Proper breathing will help avoid muscle fatigue and boost your reps. No matter which exercise you're doing, always control your breathing and follow a consistent pattern. Inhale when you rest, hold it, and then exhale while you're exerting. [13] X Research source If you're doing curls, inhale when your arms are down and exhale when you curl up. This works with non-weight exercises too. If you're doing pushups, exhale when you push yourself up and inhale when you relax back down.
Advertisement