What Does “reps” Mean In Exercise? What You Should Know?


To be able to follow exercise instructions properly, you must know the correct meaning of terms used during the activity. One of the basic terms used in exercise is the word “reps”. However, what does “reps” mean in exercise?

I will discuss the answer to this question thoroughly, after I have presented same basic information about exercises.

What are Exercises?

Exercises are physical movements or motions of the body that intend to maintain health and fitness.


Types of Exercises

There are 4 general types of exercises, these are:

1. Resistance or Strength Exercises

These are exercises that increase the strength of your muscles. Examples are: weight lifting and resistance bands.

2. Endurance or Aerobic Exercises

These are exercises that increase your physical endurance. They improve your health by keeping the heart, lungs and other organs of the body healthy and functional. Some examples are: jogging, brisk walking, cycling, running, raking, dancing, swimming and aerobics.

3. Flexibility Exercises

These are exercises that increase the flexibility of your muscles, and thus, your body. Examples of these are: Yoga exercises, calf stretches, arm stretches, leg stretches and similar movements.

4. Balance Exercises

These are exercises that improve and maintain your balance. These exercises are useful especially in elderly people, who could easily lose their balance. Examples are: standing with one foot, walking in a straight line, and similar movements.

So, let’s now answer the question: What does “reps” mean in exercise?

What does “reps” Mean in Exercise?

The word “reps’ in exercise denotes “repetitions” or “duplications” of a single complete body movement that exercises a specific muscle. The exercise may be isotonic or isometric.

Isotonic exercises or isotonic contractions are those that create movement (pushups, lunges and barbell presses), while isometric exercisesor isometric contractions are those that don’t show visible movements of the joints. Because of this, they are also called static training.


  • 10 reps of push ups - this means you have done 10 push ups before resting.
  • 5 reps of squats – this means you have done 5 squats before resting.
  • 10 reps of lunges – this means you have done 10 lunges before resting.
  • 5 reps of barbell presses – this means you have done 5 barbell presses before resting.

What is The Ideal Number of “reps” Per Set of Exercise?

This will depend on the intensity of the exercise. For high intensity exercises, 1 to 5 reps may do. For moderate exercises - 5 to 8 reps may be enough, and for easy - 8 to 15. You will have to evaluate how much your muscle can take.

Your key word is moderation. You have to increase the number of reps gradually, until you have reached the optimum reps for your type of body. Every body type and muscle development is unique. Therefore, create your own number of reps.

We cannot define “reps” without defining “sets” because they are closely interlinked and are both used in exercise.

What are “sets”?

The term “sets” includes a broader area because it encompasses “reps”. It denotes a group of reps or movements that you have performed in one go.


  • 2 sets of 8 reps of pushups – this means you have done 8 pushups (without resting), twice (2 sets) in a row. This should give you a total of 16 pushups.
  • 6 sets of 10 reps of squats – this means you have done 10 squats (without resting), 6 times (6 sets). This should give you a total of 60 squats.
  • 3 sets of 10 reps of lunges – this means you have done 10 lunges (without resting), 3 times. This should give you a total of 30 lunges.

To help you determine how many reps or how many sets you should perform, watch this video about the topic.


You have learned the answer to the question: What does “reps” mean in exercise? You have learned about the definition of “sets” as well.

With your knowledge of these terms, you will surely breeze through the instructions given in your exercises. Keep in mind that “reps” are parts of “sets”.

I have also explained how you could differentiate the terms “reps” and “sets”. They have different but related meanings.

If you have more questions about the topic, you can post them in the comment section below, and I’ll answer them in future topics.

You could also share this post with your family and friends, who have the same question.


Hello everyone! I’m glad to have you here. I’m a medical technologist by profession. My second love is writing. So, I’m focusing on providing content to help other people with their health problems. I hope I can be of help to you.

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