Remember those fitness goals you have been thinking about since you took our fitness quiz? Well now it’s time to put them to use while you figure out how many sets and repetitions you need for your workout.

Actually, let’s start with one important detail that matters to everyone, no matter the individual fitness goals: Good form is more important than the number of repetitions or sets. The amount doesn’t matter if you are not doing the exercise right. So always keep that in mind.

Now back to sets and repetitions. For a total body routine, you should aim for 18-24 total sets of your 6-12 exercises. Breaking that down, you are looking for 1-3 sets per exercise depending on your fitness goals.

For building muscle, you want lower repetitions with higher resistance. This means perform around 5-7 repetitions per set. You should be performing each set to fatigue, meaning you are only able to complete the repetitions you do, and no more. By increasing the resistance, you are able to do less reps per set.

For weight loss, you want a medium number of repetitions with a medium resistance. This means performing 12-15 repetitions to fatigue for 1-3 sets.

For building muscle endurance, you want higher repetitions with lower resistance. This means performing 15-25 reps to fatigue for 1-3 sets.

How do you find the right resistance for you? You want the resistance to be high enough so that when you complete the reps, you can’t do anymore. You need it light enough so that you can perform at least the minimum number of reps with great form.

Next week our focus is legs: how to incorporate them into your total body routine, a great exercise to get them working, and how to stretch them.