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Best Rep Range for Growth?

For maximum muscle growth would you lift say 12reps opposed to say 4 or 6?would 15 reps be too many?

I think it is different for everyone, depending on fibre type distribution etc… body type…

For me, i find i get the most out of 4-9 rep max. Legs breathing 12-20 reps.

Joe

I am a slow-twitch guy, so I find the most results in low rep, heavy weight, however right now im doing 15-20 reps as sort of a recovery process from doing low rep, heavy weight for a while. It is hard on the mind and the body IMO to do heavy weight low rep continuously over time.

The biggest people in my gym train using all rep ranges. Sometimes they’ll bench or squat a single or double. Sometimes they’ll go as high as 20+ reps in a set. Usually they keep things moderate… 6-12

Then I see some people who train light all the time (they don’t look good)

And I see people who train way too heavy for their own strength levels (they don’t look good either)

And lastly I see people who train heavy, never going more than about 4 reps, but they have excellent control over the weight. They look pretty good… but not nearly as good as the guys using all different rep ranges.

yes that very true i use a rep ranges too but i was just wondering if maybe go with low meights i will get the biggest,but i have read that go with say 6-12 reps(as you said)will stimulute the most muscle growth,which is what i would want.my buddy was telling me about dc training but i dont really get it.

I think training over a variety of rep ranges is best. Personally, I like to train low reps (3-6) and high sets (12-25). I’ve found that my body responds best to that rep range but I switch it up for higher rep ranges every now and then to give my joints a break (it’s called being over 30). I think fiber type is important as far as there being an “optimal” rep range for a given individual, but intensity and working hard each set is far more important.

And after 10+ years of lifting seriously (and smart) for different goals (athletic performance/ aesthetics) I agree with something Ian King stated back in the early days of this website: That as one’s training age progresses, their optimal rep range actually lowers. I think this was due to the trainee being closer to their maximum genetic potential and needing heavier loads to stimulate further strength and muscle gains.

[quote]iamgreat187 wrote:
yes that very true i use a rep ranges too but i was just wondering if maybe go with low meights i will get the biggest,but i have read that go with say 6-12 reps(as you said)will stimulute the most muscle growth,which is what i would want.my buddy was telling me about dc training but i dont really get it.[/quote]

It also depends on the individual though, as well as the body part. Some people respond best to lower reps (6-8) others better to higher reps (12-15). Many people also have body parts that respond better to different rep ranges (for instance legs seem to respond better to higher reps than upper body in many cases).

The best advice as to what will work best for you is, experiment and find out for yourself. Really there is a lot of trial and error in this sport and there aren’t many (if any) short cuts either.

Alternatively, you could do as Mr. Popular suggested and use a variety of rep ranges in the same workout to cover all the bases. Try “ramping” your sets (12,10,8,6 reps on for each subsequent set, adding weight on each set). Or, perhaps try going heavy (6-8 reps) on the first big movement (say DB bench for chest),then moderate (9-12 reps) for another exercise or two (say incline DB), and high (12-15 reps) for a final isolation exercise.

One final consideration is joint health. Someone recently brought up the topic of what type of lifting will put more stress on the joints. The answer is that heavy weight/low rep training puts the most stress on the joints. So, you might want to take that into account as well. Certain exercises (like tricep extensions) are especially prone to joint problems if very heavy weights and low reps are used for prolonged periods of time.

Finally, about DC training, it’s an advanced program that centers around weight progression (getting stronger), big eating, and higher frequency. There are some original methods/concepts used in it, and it has proven effective for quite a few trainees.

But, honestly at your current height/weight/training experience I don’t think that you need to be worrying about things like DC at this point. When you have maxed out your gains on volume training/5x5 and other basic powerlifting programs, then maybe give it a shot. Right now, just stick to the basics.

alright awewome thanks for info guys…very informative.my buddy suggested that i use 5x5 which i started last week.im trying to build mass rather than build up strength just wondering the best method.

5x5 is proven for great gains, especially if new to the world of lifting.

8-12 is still considered by many a great middle ground vs the lower 4-5 rep range and the 15+ rep range.

In the end like Sento said everyone is a little different.

Do a 5x5 for 2 months, then maybe go to a 8-12 for a month and see how it works out. Honestly good size will come from eating right and lifting right. The #'s aren’t as important compared to the types of lifts your doing and the muscles your working.

Doing a 5x5 of nothing but curls and dumbell kickbacks will have limited growth especially when compared to doing a 5x5 of deadlifts and bench press.

Focus on some good multi-muscle lifts and go from there.

Some may disagree and maybe beginners shouldn’t do it. Maybe they should, but I like to hit both rep ranges during one workout. For instance on bench today after a warm up I tried hitting 315 for a max and just barely missed it. My partner had to finger tip it at my sticking point. Anyway, my next set was 280 and I hit four reps.

So, my max heavy effort was the 315 attempt and then 280. My next sets were going to be for more of the pump effect and to work on my speed. I then hit one set at 250 for ten reps and my next was 235 for nine. I haven’t done a fixed 5 x 3 or 3 x 10 program in a long time. This works for me as I am still building a little muscle and getting stronger. Albeit slow, but steady.

D

ive been training on and off for 3 years.when i first started i usually did sets in the 15 rep rage i didnt gain to much size but i was vascular as shity after a while i want down to 9-12 rep range gained more size.a few months ago i tried going heavy and did sets in the 4 rep range of course my strength went up dramatically and my muscles just sorta became bulky.im going to try the 5x5 for a while then im just going with sets looking like 12,8,6,4 rep sets…

It seems to me like the important part like many says is getting stronger but depending on genetics you have to get stronger in a different rep range like I didn’t gain really any size by upping my strength on 1 rep maxes and a lot of triples but now I have been working on getting stronger in the 6-8 rep range and am gaining more muscle in weeks than I did in months of that.

I think also a big part of it was haveing the base of strength to build off first and because of that base my strength goes up much much faster in this rep range so my muscles grow much much faster.

the best rep range is all rep ranges used together.

For hypertrophy I respond best to <8 on all bodyparts with the exception of calves which require probably 20+ on each set.

[quote]Oldfart wrote:
5x5 is proven for great gains, especially if new to the world of lifting.

8-12 is still considered by many a great middle ground vs the lower 4-5 rep range and the 15+ rep range.

In the end like Sento said everyone is a little different.

Do a 5x5 for 2 months, then maybe go to a 8-12 for a month and see how it works out. Honestly good size will come from eating right and lifting right. The #'s aren’t as important compared to the types of lifts your doing and the muscles your working.

Doing a 5x5 of nothing but curls and dumbell kickbacks will have limited growth especially when compared to doing a 5x5 of deadlifts and bench press.

Focus on some good multi-muscle lifts and go from there. [/quote]

well said ^… personally i used to mess around with all rep ranges too, until recently i decided to start following a “Big 3” routine (deads, squat, and bench 3 days a week and maybe a sport specific day in between) my reps are my 8RM for 4-6 reps and eating like a monster and im already seeing results after about 3 weeks… my advice to you is just lift as heavy as possible and work the muscle well and eat like an ethiopian at an asian buffet for size

lol, an ethiopian at a chinese buffet. Thats a first !!!

Some great answers here!

From my experience it has more to do with training age, time under tension, and movement speed.

Training age:
As one trains, they get better at recruiting motor units and are therefore able to achieve the same workout with few reps. E.g. assuming the average newbie is able to recruit 40% of their motor units. As they perform reps, fatigue will set in and in order to continue the set, they will need to recruit different motor units. At some point they will fatigue all available units and the set will have to end. Assuming a 5% fatigue of the available units per rep, they will be able to do 12 reps before they fail.

Someone who has a higher training age will be able to recruit more units per rep. They will also have more muscular endurance which will delay fatigue. Assuming they are able to recruit 80% of the available motor units per rep and that 3% of them fatigue per rep, they will be able to do 7 reps before they fail.

The end result is that failure occurs after 7 reps for the trained athlete and 12 reps for the new athlete. Both achieve the same physiological state of failure; it just takes fewer reps for the trained athlete to get there.

Time under tension:
Regardless of most other factors, the length of time it takes to complete a rep will impact the amount of work that one is performing and it will impact the amount of motor recruitment. 6 reps with 505 tempo will recruit more fibers than 6 reps of 211 tempo. When someone asks a question which is better for growth, 4-6 rep ranges or 12-15 rep ranges but doesn’t mention tempo the question is impossible to answer. 12 reps at 101 tempo = 24 seconds TUT while 6 reps at 505 tempo = 60 seconds TUT. You’ll get better size gains with 60 seconds than you will with 24 seconds, but you’ll be able to handle more weight for sets lasting 24 seconds vs. those lasting 60 seconds.

Rep Speed:
Some of the motor units may not be recruited at slow speeds while others will not be recruited when moving at a fast speed. IF you do not recruit a motor unit the muscle fibers that these motor units control will not grow.

Variety of TUT and rep speed is the key once training age reaches a certain point or, more accurately, once you gain a certain amount of control over your motor units.

Hey patrick sounds good man, a little to technical for my taste, but I got the gist of what you were saying. Basically if you see a new guy totally new to training and he tries to bench it almost hurts him to touch the bar to his chest even with light weight because that full range of motion stimulates muscles that may have never recieved that kind of stimulation before.

[quote]evansmi wrote:
the best rep range is all rep ranges used together.[/quote]

I like to do the same.

It depends on the implement, I like to pair low-rep barbbell work with medium-rep dumbell and high-rep machine work.

machines i tend to ignore machines,i better start to implement them in my workout as well