This is a vital fact of exercise physiology to understand if you wish to optimize your progress. Barry holds a Level 2 Gym Instructing Certificate, but his expert knowledge comes from over 20 years of obsessive science based research on building muscle optimally. This will ensure you are working with weights that are around 75 – 80% of your 1RM, the scientifically proven “sweet spot” where optimal muscle growth is achieved. Training with moderately heavy weights within the 8 – 12 rep range is where metabolic stress “kicks-in”, which is the exercise induced accumulation of metabolites within the muscle. I’ve been training using 6 reps for mass for ages now and even though it’s helped me to put on a lot of size I think I may have plateau’d so am thinking of changing my rep range. This is what makes the 1-6 loading scheme an amazingly effective muscle-growth method. Heavier weights in the low to moderate rep range, on the other hand, has long been accepted as the best way to maximize muscle growth. This percentage of 1 rep max translates to about 6-12 reps per set. Maximum protein synthesis has been shown to occur between 70-85% of your one rep max (1RM). Skeletal muscles are made up of a mixture of two main types of muscle fibres. The other 15% can be made up of any other rep range. Overhead … 2. Sets of 6-8 reps build up just as much strength as sets of 10-14 reps “The important factor is to design a programme for the individual to provide the proper stimuli to attain maximal benefit at the lowest risk. The first three workouts are based on heavy compound movements. Muscle Mass - 6 - 10 repetitions per set. The biased muscled meathead at the local gym, occupied with moving as much weight as possible in an unwitting move to feed his ego will always tell you to “go heavy”. Should I just bump it up to 8 instead? “How many reps should you do to build muscle” or whether you should train with “high reps vs low reps to build muscle” is a common question I get asked. While weight training to add muscle mass, muscle tension beyond a certain point, and maintained within a certain time frame (without moving into aerobic territory), causes the chemical reactions in the muscle that triggers the adaptive response. 15+ reps are within the “Endurance Range”, used primarily to increase muscular endurance. But that’s not the case, because very heavy loads don’t allow for much time under tension, or for the accumulation of metabolic stress. Since Jan 3, 2013. Once relative intensity reaches 80% 1RM, it appears that maximal growth is attained. So why does training in this rep range produce the greatest gains in size? This means that you have to use a weight with which you can squeeze six to 12 clean reps. The only way to accurately measure progress, and to ensure that you are keeping the muscle under adequate tension, is to use seconds to measure time under tension, and not number of repetitions. Studies show that training within this moderate range with a weight you can handle with good form is best for building mass. The lower body tends to have slightly more type 1 fibers compared to the upper body. The lower rep ranges 1-6 build mass and strength were the 8-12 is the balance between good strength and definition gains. When your muscles adapt and grow from sets and reps of resistance weight training, they aren’t responding to numbers, they’re responding to tension. The slower the muscle fatigues, the lower it's neuromuscular efficiency, and the greater the number of slow twitch fibers. Group two, on the other hand, trained with higher reps and did 3 sets of 25-35 reps to failure. If you are just starting out, max out at 6 reps and then build-up to the mid-range. Squat. Let’s get one thing straight – feeling the “burn” from very high rep training does not cause growth. 1 – 5 reps are within the “Strength Range”, used primarily to increase muscular and neurological strength. Is 10 reps to high for mass? On the other hand, if you do too much high rep pressing not only will your muscle growth suffer but you may notice an increase in shoulder pain from your chest getting too tight. The time under tension or number of reps per set that is appropriate for you is also affected by your muscle fiber make up and your neuromuscular efficiency. But before we get into that, let’s talk about another contributor to hypertrophy – metabolic stress. The problem is that the repetition guide was born out of the recommended time under load, not the other way around. 6 – 12 reps are within the “Hypertrophy Range”, used primarily to build muscle mass. If you choose to lift a very light weight, the load is low, and the reps will be high. If you choose to lift a lot of heavy weight, the load is high, and the reps will be low. 5777 N Meeker Ave, Boise, ID 83713-1520 USA. They fatigue easily and are the most powerful. The chart that follows will help you find a good estimate, but before you get to that – here’s an interesting study I want to share with you. Hamstring Curl. A study in 2009 conducted by Kumar et al. If I wanted to get REAL big shouldn't I do 4 sets of 4-6 reps of something like 22kg to get stronger which would mean I could do 19kg on each arm for 4 sets of 6-8 reps? Do low reps build muscle, then? Heavier weights in the low to moderate rep range, on the other hand, has long been accepted as the best way to maximize muscle growth. All they know is what's known as Time Under Tension (TUT), or Time Under Load (TUL). Everyone seems have their own “expert” opinion on the “perfect” rep range for muscle growth. And as said by bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman: This is far below the effective recommendation. There may be some benefit to utilizing rep ranges across the entire spectrum, such as increasing strength, or endurance, but for building muscle, most of your training should be within the 8 – 10 “hypertrophy zone”. So, training anywhere between 8 – 12 reps to concentric failure is the optimum rep range for muscle growth. You may want to go heavy with 5 reps or lighten up and work in the 12+ rep range from time to time. As required by the Massachusetts Constitution, the House may not adjourn itself for more than 2 days, meeting year-round in … In addition, they compound the problem by trying to make up for this by adding more and more sets. First, muscles don't count reps, so these numbers could be completely different for someone who takes 10 seconds to complete one rep, compared to someone who takes 2 seconds for each rep. The proven rep range for increasing strength is one to six reps. I tried sets of 3-4, but it was too fatiguing, and enough volume was nearly impossible to achieve. To help you understand how load and reps impact growth, you need to understand something called your one rep max or 1RM. Optimize mechanical tension and metabolic stress and you’ll maximize muscle hypertrophy. I’ve extensively researched this subject and from my experience and study can confirm that you should be training within the 6 – 12 rep (8- 10 being most optimal) range most of the time if you want to maximize gains in muscle growth. This means that you have to use a weight with which you can squeeze six to 12 clean reps. It’s good to change things up sometimes. The amount of contradicting opinions on this question is staggering. The rep range you have to follow actually tells you the amount of weight you have to lift. The traditional method for building muscle mass, for both men and women alike, is to lift heavier weights and increase the amount of weight over time. Unfortunately, it was the time under load recommendation of 48 - 72 seconds per set that was the reason the 8 - 12 reps were effective. Cell swelling is a phenomenon that increases intracellular hydration and has been shown to increase protein synthesis and reduce muscle degradation, which is really the key drivers behind augmenting muscle tissue. Isolation Movements. It is easy to get caught up in the “more is better” mindset, which often guides beginners into lifting too much weight or doing too many reps, but doing so will quickly lead you to the point of diminishing returns. If you’re looking for an edge to build as much muscle as possible, then most of your training would be performed within this rep zone. If you’re looking for an edge to build as much muscle as possible, then most of your training would be performed within this rep zone. When focusing on maximizing your strength, you want to train with even heavier loads, ones you can lift for just 1-6 reps. And the rep range you choose will depend on what training goal you’re pursuing – more muscle, more strength, or more stamina. Had the study lasted longer, or the number of subjects been larger, the difference in results between the two groups may have become large enough to cross the statistically significant threshold. You’re not just picking 5 reps, or 8 reps, or 12 reps, you’re picking the right “load intensity” or “weight” for your goal, and it’s the number of reps you select that determines the load. Muscle growth can be achieved using a variety of rep ranges. If I wanted to get REAL big shouldn't I do 4 sets of 4-6 reps of something like 22kg to get stronger which would mean I could do 19kg on each arm for 4 sets of 6-8 reps? The average amount of muscle mass gained in the high rep group was 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram), compared with 3.5 pounds (1.6 kilograms) in the low rep group. For example, the rep range to develop size is six to 12 reps. Preparatory phase 1. | Age-related differences in the dose–response relationship of muscle protein synthesis to resistance exercise in young and old men | The Journal of Physiology | 10.1113/jphysiol.2008.164483 (source). Warning: things might get a little “sciency”, but bear with me, as all will become clear if you stick to the end. Do 6 reps with that weight, then rack the bar and rest for 15-20 seconds, and then try to complete 4 more reps with the same weight. Compound Barbell Movements. High-reps, for example, will have a different meaning for a powerlifter compared to a bodybuilder or a long-distance runner. This is a very effective strategy in terms of keeping focused because you're trying to essentially break three PR's: They found that the anabolic response (muscle building) increased by: 30% after training with weights that were 20% of 1RM40% after training with weights that were 40% of 1RM100% after training with weights that were 60% of 1RM130% after training with weights that were 75% of 1RM100% after training with weights that were 90% of 1RM. Say I wanted to get real big, I would do 4 sets of 6-8 reps. Say I was doing 17kg on each arm for bicep curls. However, training with moderately heavy loads within the 8 – 12 rep range taken close to failure will recruit ALL muscle fibers, fairly equality – Type 1, Type 2a and Type 2b – so there’s no need for fiber specific training. 6 – 12 reps are within the “Hypertrophy Range”, used primarily to build muscle mass. For a set of 8 - 12 reps, most of them have a time under load of about 16 - 36 seconds, at most. Best Rep Range by Exercise. Lats The lats are generally of mixed composition and thus respond best to medium reps. You can’t go wrong sticking with an average of 6-8 reps per set on lat work. The rep range you have to follow actually tells you the amount of weight you have to lift. Excluding such things as mental effort, fast twitch fibers respond best with a tension time of approximately 40 - 50 seconds. For example, you can build a lot of strength from training in the mid “hypertrophy range”, and you can build a lot of muscle from training in the low “strength range”. If you can’t do six clean reps, it’s too heavy; if you can easily do 12 clean reps, it’s too light. Conventional wisdom has us convinced that high reps and light weights builds muscle endurance and makes little contribution to gains in muscle mass. This was a study that looked at data from many studies to see how weight selection affects muscle growth. Now, some of you might be thinking, heavier weight lifted means more tension, and that more tension means more muscle growth. One, almost no one counts the time under load, or rep speed. (Journal of Applied Physiology) measured the fluctuations in muscle protein synthesis after weight training. Overall, I've put on over 40 pounds of muscle. Since I starting training my bench press has gone from 45 pounds to 275 for a couple reps. You don’t want to do low reps for every single exercise because we want to bring out the shape. It’s a simple question, with a somewhat complex answer, that I hope to make understandable in this post. Barbell Curl. For example, the rep range to develop size is six to 12 reps. MyLegislature. 4. The following is an alphabetical list of members of the United States House of Representatives from the commonwealth of Massachusetts.For chronological tables of members of both houses of the United States Congress from the state (through the present day), see United States Congressional Delegations from Massachusetts.The list of names should be complete, but other data may be incomplete. The optimal number of reps per set to achieve maximum muscle growth is a fiercely debated and disputed subject amongst the bodybuilding community. Had the study lasted longer, or the number of subjects been larger, the difference in results between the two groups may have become large enough to cross the statistically significant threshold. But high weight and low reps is not the best approach for building muscle. If you reach failure at the 8th rep, then whatever weight you’re using for that exercise would be 80% of your 1 rep max. Best reps for muscle mass: a combination of low reps and high reps. What do you think of doing 10 reps per set for mass? Triceps Dip. If you go to any popular bodybuilding forum and ask, “What’s the best rep range for muscle growth?” you’ll have a variety of different numbers thrown at you, and you’ll end up even more confused than before you asked. If you’re looking for an edge to build as much muscle as possible, then most of your training would be performed within this rep zone. This is a very demanding technique, so don’t do more than one or two sets of this technique per exercise. Eventually, the 8 - 12 reps were always prescribed, and the time under load fell by the way side. I have always been confused with these recommendations, essentially there are two distinct adaptations when it comes to hypertrophy (muscle growth). Democrat. Around 85% of your training should be within this moderate intensity loading zone. The aforementioned 8 – 12 rep range gives the best combination of muscle fiber recruitment, metabolic stress, mechanical tension, and time under tension for the goal of muscular hypertrophy. This is where the 8 - 12 repetition guide came from. Neither of these sources are very helpful. | The Role of Resistance Exercise Intensity on Muscle Fibre Adaptations Andrew C. Fry Human Performance Laboratories, The University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee, USA (source). Which group do you think built the most muscle? All other variables – rep tempo and rest between sets – were kept the same. Bentover row. “Although many training variables contribute to the performance, cellular and molecular adaptations to resistance exercise, relative intensity (% 1 repetition maximum [%1RM]) appears to be an important factor.”, “Examination suggest that there may be a threshold for optimal growth responses. Lifting weights creates a level of tension across your muscle fibres. If the weight is too heavy, you will cause the nervous system to fatigue first, not the muscles. If you can’t do six clean reps, it’s too heavy; if you can easily do 12 clean reps, it’s too light. Low Reps with Heavier Weight. 6. Take a look at the chart below to see how 1RM percentages relate to repetitions: 100% of 1RM = 1 rep95% of 1RM = 2 reps93% of 1RM = 3 reps90% of 1RM = 4 reps87% of 1RM = 5 reps85% of 1RM = 6 reps83% of 1RM = 7 reps80% of 1RM = 8 reps77% of 1RM = 9 reps75% of 1RM = 10 reps67% of 1RM = 12 reps65% of 1RM = 15 reps. As you can see, 75% of your one rep max works out at around 10 reps. That means, if you reach failure on the 10th rep of bench pressing 80kg, then 80kg is 75% of your 1 rep max. This will optimise your sets for growth by providing optimal levels of metabolic stress and mechanical tension, while also allowing you to get the best quality work in, as this load allows you to exercise muscle groups with the greatest range of motion while maintaining good form throughout each set. Conventional wisdom has us convinced that high reps and light weights builds muscle endurance and makes little contribution to gains in muscle mass. However, the way most people perform reps, that's only about 12 - 18 seconds. If you’re looking to get a strong as possible, then this is your zone. The studies above have provided us with a clear way to optimize this tension, to squeeze the most growth from every set. Examples: Squats, bench press, overhead press, bent over rows. When studies were done that showed 8 - 12 repetitions was the optimal number of reps in a set for most people, the accepted cadence was 2 seconds for the raising (positive) part of the rep and 4 seconds (negative) for the lowering of the weight. Lower reps tend to be ideal for the bigger compound lifts, giving us loose rep range recommendations for our five big hypertrophy lifts of, say: Deadlifts: 4–10 reps per set. 5. It is good to train in this rep range anyway, because it builds strength which can help you build muscle later when you switch to an 8-12 (hypertrophy) rep range. And the rep speed of the majority of trainees is about 1 second up and 1 second down. This weight causes the nervous system to fatigue first, not the muscle fibres. Whereas the fast-twitch muscles(large muscle fibers) are worked in low rep ranges resulting in shear mass. As we can see from this information, the peak of muscle growth occurs when training with a weight that is around 75% of our 1RM. 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