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12-15 Rep Range? Evidence?

Is there any evidence for the use of low rep ranges (other than variety?) I’ve heard a lot of theories, but I really can’t see any justification for over 12 reps.

I have heard it changes the appearance of the muscle. That sounds like another myth to me - any actual truth to it?

It’s easier on the joints. Some people respond better to it. Etc.

you should read some of Chad’s work. I think he does a good job of explaining the importance of using a variety of rep ranges.

Depends on what your trying to accomplish.

Here’s a pretty good explanation of the use of a variety of sets and reps within a continuoum.

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459273

Most stuff above fifteen reps is for rehab types of applications.

[quote]CLewis wrote:
Is there any evidence for the use of low rep ranges (other than variety?) I’ve heard a lot of theories, but I really can’t see any justification for over 12 reps.

I have heard it changes the appearance of the muscle. That sounds like another myth to me - any actual truth to it?[/quote]

There are a lot of factors that are pretty individual. Some people are more responsive the high weight/ low reps and some people are more responsive to low weight/ high reps. Most people are probably some where in the middle. Different muscle groups also respond differently depending on their fast twitch to slow twitch ratio.

For instance, legs tend to respond better to high reps and chest tends to respond better to heavy weights. I seldom see guys who pound out tons of push-ups with impressive chest development. And those guys whole throw 600 lbs on a leg press and push out 5 reps don’t tend to have impressive leg development.

As far as rep ranges over 12 to 15? Sure there is a time a place for that motif. I have been using some German Body comp methodology in some of my workouts and that basically consists of doing declining set with a rep range starting at 6, then the next lighter portion or 10, and then and blood curling 25 reps of a light weight. It’s definitely interesting, the pain in exquisite.

I do think that all makes since (people respond to different ranges, etc), but the argument I have heard and wonder about is the claim that it changes the appearance of muscle.

I’ve heard people claim that it will make muscles appear denser or something like that.

Now, I have heard the only way to change the way a muscle looks is heavy, explosive movements which effect myogenic tonus. Beyond that, I haven’t heard anything convincing beyond “lifting causes hypertrophy, no matter what the range.”

[quote]CLewis wrote:
I do think that all makes since (people respond to different ranges, etc), but the argument I have heard and wonder about is the claim that it changes the appearance of muscle.

I’ve heard people claim that it will make muscles appear denser or something like that.

Now, I have heard the only way to change the way a muscle looks is heavy, explosive movements which effect myogenic tonus. Beyond that, I haven’t heard anything convincing beyond “lifting causes hypertrophy, no matter what the range.”[/quote]

That’s bullshit. A muscle will look different at different sizes. You need both high weight/low reps and low weight / high reps for decent muscle growth. If you are trying to address a weakness in a muscle group that can be addressed using specific excises that shift load to the weaker spots, but in general. Soft vs. hard looking is more diet dependant.

Some old school guys say train heavy for a “dense” look all else being equal that’s probably true, but this topic is pretty broad and I could drone on and on about it. I suspect you actually have a more specifc question. If so, lets here it, that’d be easier to answer.

I just don’t see one rep range changing the look of the muscle. There are only a few things that affect the look of the muscle. One is the size of the muscle. Second is the body fat a person carries. Third is that muscle tends to lose tone if it has not been worked hard for a while.

Choose a program that combines the exercises, diet, and rest that build muscles and lowers fat and your muscles will look better. This varies from person to person.

I think the question was answered: you can’t change the “look” or “density” or “definition” of a muscle beyond making it bigger or changing your body fat.

The only way it may look different is if you stop training or maybe do explosive/heavy movements to effect the partial resting contraction. Sounds about right.

[quote]CLewis wrote:
I think the question was answered: you can’t change the “look” or “density” or “definition” of a muscle beyond making it bigger or changing your body fat.

The only way it may look different is if you stop training or maybe do explosive/heavy movements to effect the partial resting contraction. Sounds about right.[/quote]

Don’t think that is true. I’ve seen some people that look the same when flexed, but one may look more cut when not flexing then another person. And its been attributed to a slight tensing of the muscle even when not intentionally contracted. Doing a ton of pushups before you go onto the beach will make a noticable difference in how the muscle “looks” while your on the beach. If you do a ton of pushups repeatedly all the time you will see a difference then somebody who just Benches 4x10 but with a heavier weight.

Just for funs sake, on everything but the heavy lifts (deads, squats) Ronnie Coleman never goes below 10 reps.

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I always vary my rep ranges, staying between 3-15 reps.

I do full-body workouts and feel mixing up the rep ranges helps the body recover faster.

Certain rep reanges don’t make sense with some movements: (at least not to me)

I like do barbell exercises with 3-8 reps.

Dumbbells 8-12 reps.

Machines 10-15 reps.

I no longer see the point in 20 rep barbell movements or doing dumbbell benches for triples.

Slow-twitch dominant lifters do better with higher rep ranges.

Lifters who use steroids do better with higher rep ranges.

Bodybuilders do better with higher reps(but variety is important)