The Benefits of Training with Reps in Reserve or RIR

Jan 08, 2023
woman squat barbell trainer marzarella

Reps in Reserve training, or more commonly known as RIR, is a popular training technique used to help maximize muscle growth and strength gains. It involves completing a set of repetitions just to the point of reaching failure, or the inability to perform one more rep with good form. This type of training not only helps facilitate recovery but also helps stimulate the muscles, leading to improved size and strength gains. When we use RIR, we can manipulate a few variables by leaving some reps in the tank and building up momentum for our training weeks, leading to a full bore all-out week, before a recovery week in order. This assists in recovery for the next wave. One last thing, this style of training can be used for swimmers, bodybuilders, football players, etc. It should be programmed according to the athlete’s skill and sport.
In this blog post, we will take a closer look at how RIR works and why it can be an effective way to build muscle mass.

Understanding Reserve in Reserve Training:

RIR is based on the principle that when you reach failure during an exercise, the muscles are worked at their maximum potential. When you reach failure with good form and reps that are challenging but not too easy or too difficult for your individual level, stimulation of the muscle fibers occurs. This stimulation signals your body that it needs to adapt so that it can handle these stressors better next time. By using RIR as part of your routine, you can slowly increase the weight and reps over time, setting new goals every week or two.

Benefits of RIR Training:

When done correctly, RIR has several benefits that include improved muscular strength and endurance as well as increased muscle hypertrophy (or growth). As mentioned above, by constantly pushing yourself past your comfort zone and challenging yourself with heavier weights while still maintaining good form, you can expect to see improvements in your size and strength levels. Also, because you’re only going until failure on each set rather than continuing on for several additional reps afterwards (the traditional bodybuilding mindset), there is less likelihood for injury because of improper technique or excessive fatigue from long workouts.

How to Implement RIR into Your Training Program:

To get started with RIR, choose one or two compound movements (like squats or pull-ups) per workout session and complete three sets each until failure - keeping track of how much weight was used and how many reps were performed each set (in order to track progress). Remember that proper form should never be sacrificed in order to lift heavier weights - so scale back if necessary depending on what feels comfortable while still challenging enough! Last, although rest periods should be kept relatively short between sets (30-60 seconds), allowing sufficient recovery between workouts is also key depending on how often you train each week/month (1-2 days off between sessions is recommended).


RIR training offers many benefits for those looking for ways to maximize their muscle growth safely without risking injuries from improper form or extreme fatigue from long workouts. While implementing this type of training requires dedication and patience since results don’t happen overnight - those who stick with it will probably experience improved muscular strength and endurance along with enhanced hypertrophy in the long run.