Well every rep range builds muscle. And any rep range even includes cardiovascular activities. Lower rep sets apply more force per rep due to the heavy load. Differential Effects of Heavy Versus Moderate Loads on Measures of Strength and Hypertrophy in Resistance-Trained Men. This is a range that can be good for lifters who adapt better (and get a good muscle pump and soreness) using heavier loads and 5-10 reps per set. Schoenfeld, Brad J, et al. This is the fatigue from the sum of your nervous system and your local muscle. When I talk about “heavy” or “low-rep” training, I’m generally talking about loads in excess of 85% of your 1rm, for sets of 5 reps or fewer. This type of hypertrophy is best accomplished by training with lower reps that are 80- 90% of a 1RM. These three new studies largely confirm the previous analysis in the original version of this article. Reps as low as 4-5 reps can still produce robust muscle gain along with reps as high as 30-35. In fact. It is generally accepted that the optimal rep range for muscular hypertrophy is around 6-10 reps.And it is also generally accepted that after 3 minutes of rest muscles will recuperate all the energy they can possibly get. Morton, Robert W., et al. Full range of motion generally causes more muscle hypertrophy, but partial ROM can cause site-specific hypertrophy. Yep, there’s one exception – abs. The group that mixed typical hypertrophy-stimulating rep ranges for the lower body with high-intensity rep ranges for the upper body showed a whole lot more progress than the other group. In other words, after your warm-up sets—which are never taken to failure—you should select a load with which you can complete at … “So If I do more reps, I’ll get more mechanical tension right?”. Schoenfeld, Brad J, et al. Next is the pre-season. Many people still follow this outdated model. His passions are making complex information easily understandable for athletes, coaches, and fitness enthusiasts, helping people reach their strength and fitness goals, and drinking great beer. Fitness influencers will swear by some magical rep range their favorite bodybuilder taught them. “Human Tendon Adaptation in Response to Mechanical Loading: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Exercise Intervention Studies on Healthy Adults.” Sports Medicine – Open, Springer International Publishing, Dec. 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4532714/. The middle rep ranges are also a good general rule of thumb to stick to. ), Pooling all the studies together, high reps caused measures of muscle size to increase by 9.17±5.10% on average. However, this was strongly influenced by a single study discussed here. People assume that because lower reps are better for strength and higher reps are better for endurance, the middle rep range should be the hypertrophy rep range. When comparing high reps to moderate reps, the correlation is effectively nonexistent as well: r = -0.27. 50% hypertrophy rep range (6-12 reps) 25% endurance rep range (12-15+ reps) I like to start my workouts with a heavy compound exercise, then switch to hypertrophy for the second and third exercise then change to 12-15 reps for the last isolation exercises. That said, the below guidelines can generally be used for athletes who have spen… PROS: Can be the perfect balance between placing mechanical tension and metabolic stress on your muscles to produce hypertrophy. No, not quite. They consequently stress your joints and connective tissues more (8). In terms of percentages, it was a 6.6% vs. 5% increase in cross-sectional area for the elbow flexors, and 6.4% vs. 4.2% for the triceps. For this research, 42 healthy men were split into four groups that followed different protocols for sets and reps, though everyone had the same number of workouts. However, on the whole, the advantage you get from working in the hypertrophy range isn’t nearly as big as people seem to think; maybe a ~10-15% advantage per unit of effort invested at most. On the strength side of things, there does seem to be a more clear distinction in rep ranges. Schoenfeld BJ;Contreras B;Ogborn D;Galpin A;Krieger J;Sonmez GT; “Effects of Varied Versus Constant Loading Zones on Muscular Adaptations in Trained Men.” International Journal of Sports Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27042999-effects-of-varied-versus-constant-loading-zones-on-muscular-adaptations-in-trained-men/. Finally, keep in mind that this sort of aerial-view analysis is looking at the averages of the average results of a bunch of different studies. At this point, it’s time to take the scientist hat off and put the lifter/coach hat back on. You’re training optimally for hypertrophy without the distraction or worry about timing. The third by Schoenfeld et. Effect sizes slightly favored varied loading over constant loading for elbow flexor (biceps and triceps; .72 vs. .57) and triceps (.77 vs. .48) growth. Speaking purely anecdotally, here are my 100% bro-certified, entirely not-evidence-based observations about the rep ranges that tend to work best for several key lifts: Any sort of isolation lift or machine work: Keep in mind, these are just general guidelines based on my own experiences and observations. Higher rep sets produce more neuromuscular fatigue (6). Of the 14 studies or measurements comparing high reps (20 or more reps per set, <60% 1rm) to moderate reps (6-15 reps per set, 60-85%1rm), five favored moderate reps, and six favored high reps, and there were three ties when looking at percent differences. In all likelihood. Anyone who’s done extremely heavy sets often knows how crushing they can feel on your bones. Finally, I looked to see if there was a correlation between reps per set and muscle growth. “Molecular, Neuromuscular, and Recovery Responses to Light versus Heavy Resistance Exercise in Young Men.” Physiological Reports, John Wiley and Sons Inc., Sept. 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5617935/. “Muscle Fibre Activation Is Unaffected by Load and Repetition Duration When Resistance Exercise Is Performed to Task Failure.” The Physiological Society, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 27 July 2019, physoc.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1113/JP278056. There’s no direct research on fast concentrics for hypertrophy, but at the very least, you’ll get additional strength gains without compromising hypertrophy (5,16). The average effect size in the low rep measurements was 0.68, and the average effect size in the moderate rep measurements was 0.71. Hypertrophy Explained: The Best Rep Range To Build Muscle - Duration: 8:30. Did you know that the origins of this advice dates to 1954? As a compromise between the two goals I've never heard it seriously questioned although I don't believe anyone claims it's best for strength or best for hypertrophy For some people, heavy sets of 3-5 reps will – for lack of a better term – “burn out their CNS” (that’s a big topic not worth unpacking right now), meaning that after a couple of challenging sets, they just feel fried and the rest of their workout suffers. Not all exercises are optimally suited to all of the 3 main rep ranges. There was a trend toward significance (p = 0.082). Extremely high rep (40+) sets: These sets are too long where excess central nervous system fatigue reduces the fibers recruited, so when you reach failure, some fibers remain under stimulated or not stimulated at all (5). Generation Iron Brands LLC Generally speaking, beginners will gain significant amounts of strength and muscle mass early on in their training career when they perform moderate repetitions with moderate to heavy loading in a systematic overloading progression. As the muscle resists or controls this force, tons of individual fibers get recruited. For hypertrophy the rep range isn't important, the volume is, and it has been proven in several studies that loads as light as 30% of 1RM can give the same hypertrophy as heavier loads (>60%), but only if the sets are taken very close to, or to concentric failure, since it's in … Regarding machine work, low reps on machines just seems silly and anecdotally just doesn’t seem to work very well. If you’re performing your sets with good form, using a weight that’s around 75% of your 1RM in the 8 – 12 rep range, then your muscles are naturally working under sufficient time and tension optimal for muscle growth. Phase 2: Hypertrophy, or growth, consisting of high volume (eight to 12 reps, three to five sets) and moderate resistance (50 percent to 75 percent of one-rep max). 2 Michael Gonzales. High Load:Low Repetitions | 7 sets of 4 reps (28 total reps) 2. Additionally, people tend to start compromising range of motion with higher reps. Sets of 5-10 tend to work best here. In the 8-12 rep range, there is still some neural adaptation, but less than the 6-8 range and much less than the 1-5 range. Some people take it to the extreme, and assume that any muscle growth outside of the “hypertrophy range” will be minimal or nonexistent. And lifting outrageously heavy weights that induce trembling arms and bloodshot eyes is not the catalyst, either. Top Tips on How to Revitalize Your Routine, Best Gifts To Buy A Bodybuilder For The Holidays | Gift Guide 2020, Benefits Of Circuit Style Training For Your Bodybuilding Goals, Dorian Yates: The Most Important Attribute That Made Ronnie Coleman Special | GI Vault. Despite some impractical situations, you can now see that the hypertrophy rep range is wider than most people think. Oh and anyone who talks about some outdated model of the strength/endurance continuum, yeah, don’t listen to that guy either. There's not a big difference in hypertrophy when comparing rep ranges in the literature. The participants here were untrained. All the studies included in this analysis are linked at the end of the article, and all adjustments made to the data in order to control for factors such as number of sets and rest intervals are explained here. Of the nine studies or measurements comparing low reps (five or fewer reps per set, 85%+ 1rm) to moderate reps (6-15 reps per set, 60-85%1rm), three favored moderate reps, and three favored low reps, and there were three ties when looking at percent differences. The differences in the net amount of mechanical tension stimulated is the same. Generally speaking, compound exercises work better with lower reps and isolation exercises work better with higher reps. Understanding what drives muscular hypertrophy from a physiological standpoint easily explains why subscribing to an arbitrary rep range is sub-optimal for training. At the end of the 8 weeks, growth was pretty comparable between the two groups. Variable Training goal Strength Power Hypertrophy Endurance Load (% of 1RM) 80-90 45-55 60-80 40-60 Reps per set 1-5 1-5 6-12 15-60 Sets per exercise 4-7 3-5 4-8 2-4 Rest between sets (mins) 2-6 2-6 2-5 1-2 Duration (seconds per set) 5-10 […] Range of Motion: As always, never ever sacrifice full range of motion for heavier weights that you can’t control. 5x5 has the boast of building more strength/muscle than any other set/rep range. What I want to do in this article is examine that middle zone: the “hypertrophy range.” Is training in that general range the best way to build muscle? But as somebody who simply wants answers on rep ranges, you’re left wondering, how many reps should I be doing? Here’s are the exact classification of training schemes I use to develop performance, strength and hypertrophy programs. After adjustments, moderate reps caused a 10.67±8.5% increase. Yeah, don’t listen to that guy. There were no significant differences between groups in gains of fat- and bone-free mass, leg lean mass, appendicular lean mass, type I muscle fiber cross-sectional area, and type II muscle fiber cross-sectional area. Strength and hypertrophy adaptations between low- vs. high-load resistance training: a systematic review and meta-analysis. You can still gain strength with light weights/high reps and moderate weight/moderate reps, but strength gains are generally better with heavy, low-rep training. In addition, lower rep sets have a higher risk of injury because any deviation in form shifts more unintended stress on certain structures of your body. The participants had four years of training experience on average. Use 80-95% 1RM for 2-6 sets of 2-6 reps for these compound lifts followed by hypertrophy work in the 6-8 rep range. Low reps out-performed the study means by 7% on average compared to moderate reps, and moderate reps out-performed the study means by 8% on average compared to high reps. As you can see, though, most of the studies still cluster in the +/- 20% range. But the truth is that the advantage offered by working in the hypertrophy range isn’t nearly as big as people seem to think. For maximum hypertrophy, focus on hitting these 10 compound exercises every single week and perform at least 5 sets of each. Low reps out-performed the study means by 1% on average compared to moderate reps, and moderate reps out-performed the study means by 1% on average compared to high reps. As you can see, though, most of the studies cluster in the +/- 20% range. So, here’s what I’m personally taking away from this: I think instead of asking yourself, “Is this rep range better than this other rep range in some objective physiological sense?” you’re better off asking yourself, “What allows me to get in the most high quality sets during each session and during each week?”. Al: Effects of Varied Versus Constant Loading Zones on Muscular Adaptations in Trained Men. PRE-SEASON. Range of motion (ROM) Full range of motion generally causes more muscle hypertrophy, but partial ROM can cause site-specific hypertrophy. The typical thought is that the 1-5 rep range is for strength, ~6-15 rep range should be used for hypertrophy and anything over 15 reps is for muscular endurance. Structuring the training week is another topic for another day, but the basics are simple: If you’re training a muscle or movement twice per week, then you should try to make sure those sessions are spaced out by at least 72 hours. Both groups did the same number of sets, and all sets were taken to failure. Different opinions for the best rep ranges for muscle hypertrophy. In this study, the subjects did unilateral training (biceps curls and knee extensions). After adjustments, moderate reps caused a 12.19±6.58% increase. Due to the sheer amount of variability we’re looking at, both within studies and between studies, it’s probably not wise to assume that a single rep range will be the best for everyone. Pooling all the studies together, low reps caused measures of muscle size to increase by 11.91±5.70% on average. More mechanical tension means more muscle protein synthesis. Wackerhage, Henning, et al. Excluding that one study, the average effect size was 0.85 for high reps and 0.99 for moderate reps, and the trend toward significance disappears. All three equated volume based on number of sets to failure, and all three found very similar growth across a variety of rep ranges. Responses of knee extensor muscles to leg press training of various types in human. Rep Range for Hypertrophy. Since the original version of this article was published, three more studies have come out comparing the effects of training in different intensity ranges: The first by Morton et. If you read a mainstream bodybuilding magazine, you will see that nearly every program recommends training in a moderate rep range around 6-12 or 8-15 reps for muscle hypertrophy. Do 75% of your reps in the 8-12 range with the 25% a mix of 4-6 and 12-20. Haun, Cody T, et al. I’d have preferred if they just equated sets to failure with both limbs, but the number of sets performed ended up being similar enough that equating volume load was probably fine. One arm and leg trained with 20% of 1RM, and one arm and leg trained with either 40%, 60%, or 80% of 1RM. Couldn’t have put it better myself. Effects of Drop Set Resistance Training on Acute Stress Indicators and Long-Term Muscle Hypertrophy and Strength. What is interesting, however, is that somewhere in the 8-12 rep range still appears optimal for inducing muscular hypertrophy because it strikes a … First, we can look at it from a mechanistic perspective. The participants were young men with some strength training experience (at least 2 years required, with an average of 4 years). I’ve been training now for a decade. Of the 13 calculable effect sizes comparing low to moderate reps, three favored moderate reps, two favored low reps, and the other eight were ties (effect size differences <0.2). The other 50% can perhaps be split evenly between the heavy (5-10) and light (20-30) rep ranges, as loading range diversity has been shown to be a potential benefit in its own right. A correlation between reps per set, how many reps should I doing! Just seems silly and anecdotally just doesn ’ t really matter what range. 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