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Answer to a simple question

Hey, I have a rather simple question. Being a thin guy,(6"2 160lbs)what is the best rep range for mass. Is it the 8-12 scheme, or should i lift really heavy. All the mags have me confused.

For most people, the 8-12 rep range works the best for mass gains, but like anything else, it only works for a limited time. Some of it also depends on your fiber makeup (i.e. fast vs slow twitch). Charles Poloquin once noted that performing anything above about four reps was worthless for him. As a result, he has very appreciable amounts of mass as well as strength. However, he has been gifted with a very high % of fast twitch fibers. To be honest, your question goes beyond the scope of this column, but this should give you something to ponder. All of it is going to be finding out what works for you as an individual.

It’s easy to get confused - because there’s no right answer. What works for one may not for another. Even knowing the theory doesn’t always help. Eg, many feel biceps respond best to low reps, but i know many who don’t respond to this rep-range at all. I was much skinnier than you (6"1,143), but in 18 months got to 218, 10%BF. I got my strength up first, doing heavy: benching (6 sets, 2-6 reps), curls, pullups, leg-press, close-grip bench and military press. When you’ve got some bulk, start trying higher reps to see if any muscle groups respond better to this rep range, eg, triceps may well. Along with the training, the most important factor is eating enough quality calories.

As a formerly thin guy (6’2" 165 - now 205-210 for summer and 220-230 over winter) i put on most of my size with 4-8 reps in the big exercises. The only time i went above 8 reps was if i threw in some curls, press downs, db laterals, or forearm work at the end of my session. Beyond the basics, two of the most effective mini programs i ever did were the 20 rep squat and the 20 rep deadlift. Oh, and it won’t matter what rep range you use if you don’t eat. Eat everything you can, then eat some more. You’re going to have to put fat on with the muscle. But its not something to wory about because you can diet it off later. You can’t gain a significant amount of muscle without putting on fat, and it would be a mistake to try to be the exception that proves the rule. You won’t put on any size and you’ll end up burning out.

I believe you should work ALL rep ranges to get the most mass. Try doing low reps at the beginning of the workout with long rest periods, then medium with medium rest periods, then high with low rest periods.