High quality sets refer to those that employ exercises that are likely going to be limited by the muscle you’re trying to train, through the longest range of motion you can maintain with safe form, taken within 2-3 reps of failure*, and performed when you’re adequately recovered from your previous set (generally around 1.5-2 minutes of rest for isolation lifts, and 3-5+ minutes for heavy compound lifts). At the end of the study, biceps and quad hypertrophy was basically identical with 40%, 60%, and 80% of 1RM. The middle rep ranges are also a good general rule of thumb to stick to. 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. 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. All in all the combination the varied and properly ordered exercise selection, the varied rep ranges, and the short rest periods between exercises (as is typical for trisets) make this a brutally effective chest hypertrophy routine! By increasing the load, each rep is more difficult and stimulates a greater magnitude of tension. If you’re training a muscle or movement more than twice per week, make sure that you’re the most well-rested going into your hardest sessions, and intersperse harder sessions with easier ones so that you’re not accumulating too much fatigue. Using adjusted values, there was effectively no difference in this comparison. Neither of those increases were significantly different from those caused by high reps. (The p = 0.15 for unadjusted, and p = 0.32 for adjusted values; one-tailed t-test.). Indeed, strength is enhanced with lower reps and endurance is enhanced with higher reps because this is more specific towards those adaptations. As the muscle resists or controls this force, tons of individual fibers get recruited. However, it does seem that rep ranges in the low to moderate range seems to be best hypertrophy wise. Low Load: High Repetitions | 3 sets of 12 reps (36 total reps) 4. 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). Typically, the high-load groups in those studies are training to failure or close to failure, and the low load group just does a ton of sets, not particularly close to failure. And this is exactly where the 6-12 rep range comes in … The training protocol involved three sets of unilateral preacher curls to failure, three times per week (not exactly how most of us train, but certainly controlling for a ton of variables to allow for a valid comparison). Hypertrophy workouts Lighten the load, but not your muscle mass with four exercises for four sets, eight to 15 reps. “Muscular Adaptations in Low- versus High-Load Resistance Training: A Meta-Analysis.” European Journal of Sport Science, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25530577. Now, before jumping in, I will note that the assumptions about lower reps/higher weights building more strength and higher rep/lower weights building more strength endurance have largely been validated. Hypertrophy rep … With isolation lifts, you don’t really have to worry about systemic metabolic fatigue, and going too heavy can irritate a lot of people’s tendons since generally you can work the individual muscle through a longer range of motion than you’d be able to with a compound lift. “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. 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). While it may not be optimal, you can still build muscle in the 4-6-rep range. After adjustments, moderate reps caused a 12.19±6.58% increase. For hypertrophy: Find the rep range that allows you to get the most high-quality, hard work in. He enjoys helping people lift heavy, live healthier, and upgrade their physiques. A true 5-rep max done often can be brutal if you have weak joints. 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. Half of them trained with sets of 8-12 reps for three sessions per week, while half of them trained with sets of 2-4 reps one day, sets of 8-12 one day, and sets of 20-30 one day. Higher rep sets produce more neuromuscular fatigue (6). Powerlifters tend to lift predominately in the 1-3 rep range (i.e. 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. Don't neglect lower and higher rep work. Control Group To accurately gauge each group’s starting intensities for their sets, rese… If you take something through a full range of motion safely it almost always gives you the most growth. 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. These next two charts compare the average results of the groups training in the “hypertrophy range” of 6-15 reps per set to the average results of all the participants in the study. Ever try to do one of those 20 rep max squat challenges? However, I know it would make some people’s eyes glaze over, so I made it a separate post.). Anyone who’s done extremely heavy sets often knows how crushing they can feel on your bones. There was a trend toward significance (p = 0.082). Again, the weight needs to be light enough that you can work the target muscles and train the movement effectively instead of turning the exercise into a balancing act, but they also need to be heavy enough that metabolic fatigue within the set isn’t going to start making balance problematic toward the end of the set. Do 75% of your reps in the 8-12 range with the 25% a mix of 4-6 and 12-20. Morton, Robert W., et al. And any rep range even includes cardiovascular activities. 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. He’s written for many of the major magazines and websites in the fitness industry, including Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Muscle & Fitness, Bodybuilding.com, T-Nation, and Schwarzenegger.com. The “hypertrophy range” of roughly 6-15 reps per set. It’s interesting that Schoenfeld’s study found a slight benefit for changing loading zones, while Fink’s found that changing loading zones had essentially no effect (in fact, the group that changed loading zones got slightly worse results than the two groups that trained with either sets of 8-12 or sets of 30-40 consistently – the difference was nowhere close to significance). These average effect sizes were not significantly different (p = 0.37). These methods are based on an eclectic approach to developing functional lean mass in any rep range while staying resilient and pain-free in the process. This study in particular showed lifting the concentric with maximal explosive intent resulted in almost double the bench press strength gains (6). In other words, the actual hypertrophy rep range seems to be much broader than the one proposed in the traditional continuum, similar hypertrophy is observed across the 5–40 rep range … Specifically, the 1-5 rep range is best for gaining strength. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. Effect Of Resistance Training To Muscle Failure Versus Volitional Interruption At High- And Low-Intensities On Muscle Mass And Strength. However, hypertrophy is not specific towards a certain performance. Yep, there’s one exception – abs. One group trained with 80% 1rm for sets of 8-12, one group trained with 30% 1rm for sets of 30-40, and one group alternated between training with 80% and 30% for two weeks before switching back to the other intensity range. The Rep Range Continuum Lifting moderate to heavy weights for 6-12 reps is optimal rep range for hypertrophy. You’re training optimally for hypertrophy without the distraction or worry about timing. I’ve been training now for a decade. Very low rep (1-3) sets: These sets even though they’re extremely heavy, seem to be far too short to match the hypertrophy of other sets (4). The truth is, recent emerging research has indicated that this hypertrophy rep range is actually much bigger than most people realize . In total the offseason is about 2 months. This way you balance out the drawbacks by not doing too much of one rep range. Try to keep 60-90 seconds recovery time between each exercise if … Al:  Impact of High Versus Low Fixed Loads and Non-Linear Training Loads on Muscle Hypertrophy, Strength, and Force Development. 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. 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 … The muscle growth in the “hypertrophy range” group was subtracted from the average results across both groups reported, and that value was divided by the average results across both groups. More of one generally means less of the other. Maximizing hard sets within a training week depends both on what you can best recover from between sessions and how you structure your training week. Here are a few other studies on this topic, excluded for reasons explained here: Mangine, Two by Tanimoto (one, two), Holm, Leger, Lamon, Alegre, and Kraemer, Greg Nuckols has over a decade of experience under the bar, a BS in Exercise and Sports Science, and a Master's in Exercise Physiology. Hypertrophy range of 6-15 reps per set can produce better results per unit of time invested than low rep and high rep work. PRE-SEASON. Range of Motion: As always, never ever sacrifice full range of motion for heavier weights that you can’t control. Why The “Hypertrophy Rep Range” Is Best. Even so, more practically speaking, we tend to get more muscle … Oh and anyone who talks about some outdated model of the strength/endurance continuum, yeah, don’t listen to that guy either. Some people simply do better with higher or lower reps. As a general rule of thumb: Aim to get 60-70% of your work sets in the rep range that you personally find works best for you, and get 15-20% of your sets with heavier weights/lower reps and about 15-20% of your work with lighter weights/higher reps. This one is a little more complicated. New York, NY 10001 Here’s are the exact classification of training schemes I use to develop performance, strength and hypertrophy programs. Lower rep sets apply more force per rep due to the heavy load. When I talk about “light weights” or “high reps,” I’m generally talking about loads less than 60% of your 1rm, for sets of 15 reps or more. Pooling all the studies together, low reps caused measures of muscle size to increase by 11.91±5.70% on average. Strength and Physique Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Master List, Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window), 0.68, and the average effect size in the moderate rep measurements was, 0.71. 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 train both sets to the same proximity to failure, your biggest muscle fibers get recruited and stimulated to the same degree by the end of the set (3). The moderate-rep group’s increase in muscle thickness was 12.72%. Next is the pre-season. Not all exercises are optimally suited to all of the 3 main rep ranges. 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). This lets us know that, while the “hypertrophy rep range” is way bigger than most people realize, there probably is a bottom end. But that doesn’t mean you should do all your training there. They can, but due to their drawbacks, they’re sub-optimal. The second by Fink et. Reps as low as 4-5 reps can still produce robust muscle gain along with reps as high as 30-35. 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. 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. Resistance act as force against your muscles while the muscle contracts and stretches. Sets of 8-15 in general. If you don’t, try it and you won’t be able to lift much after that. Strength is specific to the ROM you are using, but you can gain strength 20-30 degrees outside of the ROM you train with. Ultimately, don’t overthink it. They also completed 4-5 reps at 88%-90% of their max for the upper body. It comes from English surgeon and bodybuilder, Ian MacQueen. 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. The preseason, which lasts between 3-5 months, will focus even more on strength and power. Is there a hypertrophy range of 6-15 reps per set that will net you more muscle growth? Finally, to round out this section regarding practical application, keep in mind that this applies to hypertrophy training. For maximum hypertrophy, focus on hitting these 10 compound exercises every single week and perform at least 5 sets of each. There have been a couple studies using really low loads (15.5% is popular, for some reason), but those studies generally do a pretty bad job equating protocols. Responses of Knee Extensor Muscles to Leg Press Training of Various Types in Humans, Optimization of training: development of a new partial load mode of strength training. 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. This is also a good inbetween range for lifters who want to progress into a more strength-focused training phase, yet spent some time training in the 8-15, or 15-25 rep range. It’s that simply being able to do more hard training tends to produce better results, and most people tend to be able to do the most hard training when they do the majority of their work in that intensity range. 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. Couldn’t have put it better myself. 3 Different Rep Ranges for Strength, Hypertrophy & Endurance. PROS: Can be the perfect balance between placing mechanical tension and metabolic stress on your muscles to produce hypertrophy. Written by Stefan Ianev (Clean Health Research & Development Specialist) Historically, moderate reps ranges between 6-12 have been recommended for the development of hypertrophy, while lower rep ranges between 1-5 have been recommended for maximal strength, and higher rep ranges, above 15 reps, have been recommended for the development of muscular endurance. CONS: This is the most common rep range and many just stick to this 24.7, never challenging … That said, the below guidelines can generally be used for athletes who have spen… When you do more reps, you’re forced to use a lighter load which reduces the resistance of each individual rep, so even though you’re experiencing a longer duration of tension, the magnitude of the tension is smaller per rep. Increasing the weight and hopping to lower rep ranges reverses these effects. The mixed reps group got a lot stronger in the bench press than the other group. 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). However, there were also plenty of instances where low reps or high reps had a small edge. With weights that are too heavy, balance can become problematic, so you waste a lot of energy just controlling the weight instead of training the muscles you’re trying to train. Using adjusted values, there were a few differences, but they were pretty small. This is the fatigue from the sum of your nervous system and your local muscle. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! If you do squats with a maximum range of motion safely, you’re quads really get destroyed with minimum effort and still cause the most growth. We live in a world where rep ranges are deeply misunderstood. And what is the optimal rep range for hypertrophy? In this study, the subjects did unilateral training (biceps curls and knee extensions). Well every rep range builds muscle. However, while nearly all rep ranges build similar amounts of muscle per set, how they fatigue you is quite different. Lifting super heavy weights for low reps focuses on increasing muscle strength and lightweight for high reps builds muscular endurance. Yeah, you know what I mean. We have a lot of evidence showing similar per-set hypertrophy with loads ranging from 30% to ~85% of 1RM, but dipping down to 20% may just be too low to create adequate muscle tension to maximize growth. This glorious process is called muscle protein synthesis and it gets triggered based on mechanical tension (1). Additionally, people tend to start compromising range of motion with higher reps. Sets of 5-10 tend to work best here. You’re training optimally for hypertrophy without the distraction or worry about timing. Classic Hypertrophy Rep Range (6-15) this is probably the most common rep range, most people would normally shoot for the middle and do about 10 reps-ish. “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/. Effects of Drop Set Resistance Training on Acute Stress Indicators and Long-Term Muscle Hypertrophy and Strength. Sign up to the GI newsletter for breaking news, workouts, diets, and exclusive offers. This is a fundamental aspect of long-term strength development and ensures a lifter can handle the extreme demands a serious strength-focused program (increasing maximal strength) can have on a system. The participants all performed four full-body training sessions per week for 12 weeks. Train primarily in the 4-6 rep range at 80-85% of your 1 rep max. How fanatical people were about those rep ranges varied, sure, but those have been the accepted ranges for a long, long time. The paper starts off with an acknowledgment to the conventional wisdom of training in the 1-5 rep range for strength and the 6-12 rep range for hypertrophy. Evan Singleton Does 805 Lbs No Hands Deadlift! We're all different, so do what works best for you. Somewhere between these two ends of the spectrum, however, lies muscular hypertrophy. The 3 to 6 Rep range, Strength; Slight Muscular Hypertrophy; No endurance benefits; Working at 85 to 90+% of your 1RM; Pro’s: When working within this rep range the main gains you will see will be muscular strength. Different opinions for the best rep ranges for muscle hypertrophy. 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. One requires less lifting of a heavier weight while the other requires more lifting of a lighter weight. Email: info@generationiron.com. On the strength side of things, there does seem to be a more clear distinction in rep ranges. However, it does seem that rep ranges in the low to moderate range seems to be best hypertrophy wise. It’s typically a bit lower for deadlifts than squats, because letting your technique slip as you fatigue is easier with deadlifts. However, I think it’s worth discussing because it adds another layer of analysis and another set of comparisons some readers will be more familiar with. 10-15% advantage per unit of effort invested. Start there, and experiment to see what lets you get in the most high-quality work. Let me explain as it will help you understand rep ranges better. In fact. And what is the optimal rep range for hypertrophy? A recent paper (reviewed in the latest issue of MASS) had some findings that provide some important new information in this area of research. All three equated volume based on number of sets to failure, and all three found very similar growth across a variety of rep ranges. One group did 3 sets of 8-12 reps for all exercises, and one group did 3 sets of 20-25 reps for all exercises. Some coaches and trainers contend that ten reps are the magic number, while others believe a range of 8-12 is more accurate Training for Muscle Size (Hypertrophy) If you're training for muscle size, choose a weight at which you reach muscle failure in the 8-12-rep range. As a result, there exists a hypertrophy rep range of roughly 6-12 reps, which is often proposed as the best rep range to maximize muscle growth. More fatigue and a greater extent of waste products are produced when training in this rep range. The rep-range that works best will probably be determined by genetics (proportion of slow/fast twitch fibers) and your tempo. The same studies referenced above showed that lower rep ranges was consistently better for increasing strength compared to higher reps [1, 2]. ... but on average the ‘hypertrophy range’ did slightly better than high reps or low reps. This entire process is mechanical tension. After adjustments, moderate reps caused a 10.67±8.5% increase. Fitness influencers will swear by some magical rep range their favorite bodybuilder taught them. So while hypertrophy training isn’t as sensitive to rep ranges as other goals, there are 2 exceptions you should avoid. 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. One arm and leg trained with 20% of 1RM, and one arm and leg trained with either 40%, 60%, or 80% of 1RM. Due to the variety of ways to measure muscle growth used in these studies and differing lengths of the studies, you wouldn’t expect a super strong correlation. However the reason 8-12 is generally what you want for hypertrophy is because doing that rep scheme you can get a lot of time under tension which as we know is important for hypertrophy. At this point, though I’m going to wrap things up for this article since this is the end of the stuff 80% of you will probably care about. J Strength Cond Res 31(12): 3508-3523, 2017-The purpose of this article was to conduct a systematic review of the current … Effect sizes slightly favored varied loading over constant loading for elbow flexor (biceps and triceps; .72 vs. .57) and triceps (.77 vs. .48) growth. 8:30. Then, they did sets to failure with 40%, 60%, or 80% until they’d equated volume load between their two limbs. More information about the individual studies, adjustments, and analyses can be found in the article The “Hypertrophy Rep Range” – Stats and Adjustments if you want to dig a little deeper into this topic. 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. However, while nearly all rep ranges build similar amounts of muscle per set, how they fatigue you is quite different. The forest plot of results from the included studies is the real money shot here: The confidence interval for all effects crosses zero, and the pooled effect was 0.03 – that may be the smallest pooled effect I’ve ever seen in a meta-analysis. One standby, though, has been “rep ranges.”. The hypertrophy rep range actually starts to make more sense. Saxofficial 194 views. In that time, I’ve seen a lot of ideas, fads, and trends come and go. “So If I do more reps, I’ll get more mechanical tension right?”. The two major mechanisms of hypertrophy in a constant tug of war are mechanical tension and metabolic stress. Well, first let’s look at the strength endurance continuum to clear the air. All sets were taken to failure. Sets of 8+. STRENGTH HYPERTROPHY 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. There was a trend toward significance (p = 0.082). At least as far back as the ’50s (and probably before), people have been promoting the idea that low reps were ideal for strength development, moderate reps (somewhere between 6-8 reps on the low end, and 12 to 15 on the high end) were best for building muscle, and high reps were best for building strength endurance. Reps as low as 4-5 reps can still produce robust muscle gain along with reps as high as 30-35. 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