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How to get Better at More Reps Per Set?

Hi CT,

Wish you a very Happy New year !!

I have a question where I want to get better at handling more reps/set. I have always trained in the 5-7 reps range and am good at it. Even 8 reps/set is slightly more for me and something like 10 is way too much.

Now I want to explore very high reps per set something like 15 reps/set for upper body and 20-25 reps for Squats. However I am very bad at that. Even with lighter loads getting these many reps on 2nd or 3rd set is difficult. Even in Crossfit kind of training I do badly. My cardio strength gives up much before my muscles give up.

I am 37 years old with almost 12 years of training. I just want to get good in this workout range for the sake of variation and I have no real goals for aesthetics/strength.

How can I program myself for this ?

I have tried to take care of my pre-workout nutrition and Rest periods to help me with this but don’t have much of a clue. I can train 3-6 days per week so frequency or lack of it is not a concern.


I believe that these repetitions require more of your muscular endurance.

also consumes more glycogen.

it is a question of adapting. keep doing…
soon your body will adapt and everything will become easier.

your body is adapted to low repetitions, this difficulty is normal.

there may not be something special to do.


If you are not good at it and you don’t enjoy it, I don’t really see an upside to this.

“Yeah but variation will give me new gains”

Maybe A LITTLE BIT more for a very short time. But for size gains, studies have shown that provided that the level of effort is high, gains are the same with medium and high rep ranges. So I doubt that in the long (and even medium) term it would make any difference.

Furthermore if you are not good at it, you also decrease the stimulus from being forced to use very small loadsand if you don’t like this type of training, motivation will be lower which will affect the quality of training and thus your progress.

I have never done high reps on big compound movements and that has never hurt me.

From time to time I will use higher (12 or so) reps on isolation or secondary exercises. But I never program sets of 15-25 on big lifts, ever. Never use that with any clients of mine.

So I’m not really the guy to help you here.

I can give you 3 recommendations:

  1. Start using high reps on isolation and minor exercises first. These are less stressful and will get the muscles used to the higher reps. Once you are pretty good you can start to increase reps on the big lifts.

  2. Increase the reps gradually. Do not grom from 5-7 up to 15-20 right away. You can move from 5-7 to 8-10 for a few weeks, then to 10-12 for a few weeks, 12-15 for a few weeks then 15-20.

  3. You can use rest/pause to get used to the higher reps without having to decrease weight too much. For example you can shoot for 15 reps, get 10, rest 15-20 seconds,get 3 more, rest15-20 seconds, get 2 more. And over time try to make the pauses shorter until you can do the 15 without pausing.

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I guess that’s why I love your programs! I’m still haunted by the 3 x 15 on zercher squat, bench and rowing during a 2A session…