How Many Reps to Build Muscle (BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES!)


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The most common question asked by those working out is how many reps should you do to build muscle. When it comes to bodyweight exercises and workouts, the answer to this depends on a lot of factors, namely how strong you are and how much you weigh. You see, prescribing a specific number of reps to a bodyweight exercise is ignoring the strength and size differences that could exist between two people doing the exact same workout.

In this video, I show you a method for determining the best reps to build muscle and answer the questions of how many reps for building muscle as applied specifically to bodyweight exercises. Whether you are doing dips, pullups, pushups or any other body weight exercise…you’ll be able to start adding muscle mass if you follow the steps outlined.

The first thing you want to do is warmup. Following a brief warmup of jump rope or light jogging and some mobility work for the joints involved in the workout you are about to do, you will want to perform a set of the bodyweight exercise to failure. Whatever the number of reps that this occurs at is, will become part of the workout equation. Use the multiplier shown here (either 3, 5, 7 or 10 times) to push yourself to the level of challenge that you’re after.

Any bodyweight workout can be made extremely hard if you follow these recommendations for how many reps should you do to build muscle. You can build mass with any rep range that challenges the muscles being used and takes them to failure, provided you do this within 45-60 seconds per set. This is the concept of time under tension. Too many sets to failure done in just 5-10 seconds tends to work more on strength than it does muscle growth.

With bodyweight exercises and workouts, you want to be sure that you take your reps to failure each time so that you’re not leaving effort (and untapped muscle growth) on the table each time.

For a complete bodyweight only workout with the exact sets and reps needed to build muscle spelled out every day, be sure to head to and get your ATHLEAN XERO program. This six week no equipment workout lays out the best reps and sets for muscle building as well as a day by day meal plan.

For more videos on how many reps to build muscle and the best sets and rep schemes to do it, be sure to subscribe to our youtube channel at


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  1. Okay so i am a complete newbie when it comes to speaking in fitness terms.. can anyone please explain this to someone like me? (I want to be lean and toned and gain a bit of mass)
    Like as simple as possible how many reps of an exercise? How many sets of that specific exercise? How many sets per workout and how many per week?

  2. I'd like to see a sport specific bodyweight only full body workout using this progression model. Specifically for Wrestling and ideally more strength and conditioning based rather than hypertrophy. What exercises/variations, exercise and rest intervals times, and workout frequency would best help say wrestlers. (Of course I think different sports would have their own Variations). I'm a fan, keep up the great work. Thanks Brad

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