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The Best Rep Range For Mass & Strength Revealed!

What Is The Best Rep Range For Mass & Strength?

It’s by far one of the most commonly asked questions on fitness and bodybuilding forums.

I bet you’ve either asked this question yourself, or you’ve seen or heard of someone asking it. And the answer? Well it seems everyone has their own ‘theory’ when it comes to what works best.

So here’s my take on it, from my own personal experience and research

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Applying Progressive Overload

Progressive overload is the key to increasing both muscle size and strength. Incase you’re not familiar with the term progressive overload it refers to the ongoing increase of either repetitions, weight or time under tension for a muscle. You can read up on progressive overload on my previous blog post here.

That’s all well and good but in terms of rep range…

The majority of individuals tend to lift within the typical 10 – 15 rep range as prescribed by pro bodybuilders, fitness magazines and internet forums. However, if you’re an average guy that isn’t a genetically blessed god you should be lifting in the single digit rep range for optimal strength and size gains.

I personally recommend working within the 4 – 7 rep range for all of your major lifts.

Regardless of whether you are in a cutting or bulking phase your workout does not need to change at all, you won’t get increased vascularity or striations by performing a higher number of repetitions, that’s a load of crap. I keep my rep structure the same all year round and simply manipulate my caloric intake based on whether I want to gain mass (calorie surplus) or burn fat (calorie deficit).

I’m certainly not the first person to advocate lifting heavy for fewer reps…

“If you must use dumbbells for daily training, use heavy ones with fewer repetitions rather than light bells with numerous repetitions”Arthur Saxon, 1906

If you don’t generally train in the lower rep range I recommend you give it a try, stop lifting in the 10 – 15 rep range for at least a month and focus on heavy, low rep sets. Once you start to see results you won’t want to go back.

Now, you may still think high reps are beneficial, but let me tell you they’re far from it.

High repetitions result in increased stress on your CNS, increase in localized inflammation and increased soreness.

“Movements or exercises that do not give the muscle the required resistance, but are the kind that involve a great number of repetitions, never break down any tissue, to speak of. These movements involve a forcing process that cause the blood to swell up the muscle, and simply pump them up”– George F. Jowett, 1926

So should you discard higher rep training completely?

Not quite.

Smaller muscle groups such as the calves and biceps from my experience respond better to a slightly higher rep range (8-12).

What’s Your Take On Low Rep Training? Let Me Know In The Comments Below!

Scott J.
Scott J.https://ignorelimits.com
I’m SJ. I’m a fitness enthusiast and published author. I transformed my body from a skinny fat 135lbs with 18% body fat to a solid 192lbs at 8% body fat. I became qualified in a field I was passionate about. I founded several online businesses that allow me to pursue ideas and projects in my life that I am passionate about without having to constantly worry about money. I published several eBooks explaining the training and dieting techniques I used to achieve the body I have today. I learnt a plethora of new information on dieting and fitness by reading and applying what I read, to find out what does work and what doesn’t work, because as I’m sure you’ve noticed the health and fitness industry is full of non-sense claims and BS. I found out what was true and what worked for me and applied that knowledge. And you bet I had fun during the whole process.

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