**From time to time, I will repost and bump an article on TR. This is one of those times! I have been getting some questions about rep ranges lately. So let’s dig into it…
When I started with P90X, I just did what Tony told me. And that is what you should do. I would max out on reps of push ups and pull ups and stick to 8-12 for the dumbbell exercises. Tony knows what he is doing and it was perfect for building a lot of strength, muscle, and shredding fat. As I read more and more, I decided to make some changes. If you’ve watched my pull up tips video, you know I added a weighted backpack to keep my reps on push ups and pull ups down. That is because I wanted to stay more in a range that would be the best for hypertrophy, muscle growth. Now, with programs like Body Beast, we are put through even different rep ranges and schemes.All rep ranges and schemes have their place, you just want to know what they are doing for you.
Low Rep RangesLow rep ranges are typically though of as anywhere from 1 to 5 reps in a set. These types of sets are for stimulating and using the most strength. They will also develop the most strength of any rep range. If you are trying to move the most load you can, you want to train in these ranges. The cool thing I have seen from doing some low rep range lifts is that this strength has increased the amount of weight I can handle in the other ranges. When your OVERALL strength increases, it only makes sense that what you would use for 8-12 would seem lighter :-)
One cool thing I’ve learned is was that low rep range sets also activate all types of muscle fibers. Your muscles fibers will always be recruited in the order of slow to intermediate to fast. If the slow fibers can’t lift the weight, then the intermediate get in, and finally, the fast fibers are hit too.
Hypertrophy Rep Ranges
These moderate rep ranges are typically from 8-12 reps. They split the difference between low and high rep ranges and have some of the benefits of both. Studies have all shown that this rep range is the best for hypertrophy, muscle growth/size. These rep ranges also tend to put you under good time under tension.
High Rep Ranges
High rep ranges are typically thought of as more than 15 reps. These are great for burning out the muscle and build muscular endurance. These ranges will also use the most glycogen. You need more fuel to do these big sets. The benefit there is that post workout, your body will look to replenish that glycogen and that will flood the muscle with more water. A cool fact from Layne Norton is that intracellular water (like what creatine helps with) increases protein synthesis and can even cause the cell to stretch!
Use all the Rep Ranges
Now in my training, I like to use all the rep ranges. With a program like Body Beast, you are typically using the 15 rep sets to pre-fatigue the muscle. That allows you to use less weight on the lower rep sets. I have even changed some workouts to go 6-9-12 reps for the sets of big compound moves (bench, squat, deadlift). I like sticking down close to the strength zone and hitting more hypertrophy. On the small isolation moves (curls for example), I still use high rep ranges to really get that pump. Try playing around with some rep ranges. See how it changes your workouts, but make sure you still use them all. All rep ranges have their place and strengths!
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