T Nation

20 Reps Per Set


I was wondering what people think of the 15-20 rep range. I have always done low reps and never had any noticeable hypertrophy gains from it. One month I did friendly challenge with my brother which involved seeing how many sets of 15+ reps we could do with 40KG, after a month of this I gained inches on my legs, which are already bigger than the rest of my body proportionately.

I was wondering if 15-20 range has the same effect for the upper body, specifically the big muscles in the back and why 6-12 is chosen above the higher ranges.

Any links to a study or anything with some scientific argument for a certain range for hypertrophy would be appreciated.


Generally, the legs respond better to higher rep ranges than the upper body. That being said, people are different - if you're really curious, just give it a try :wink:


When it comes to prompting new muscle growth, "different" works. For you, high reps were different from what you'd been doing, so you saw new growth.

6-12 is a pretty broad range, but in general, it has the "best" compromise between using some pretty heavy weights and still getting a decent amount of volume in (depending on total sets, of course).

I talked about one study on higher reps here:

Jim Kielbaso also had an article talking about "why" high reps work sometimes: