T Nation

Different Rep Ranges

I just got done with my last training cycle. Up until this point I have modified my workouts a bunch until I settled on a 4 day push pull routine. Only thing I don’t like about it is my legs kinda get shortchanged. Anyways I have been doing 3 work sets for each lift. A set of 10, then 8, then 6. I was doing higher reps to focus on hypertrophy and gaining mass. Well I just had to take a week off from lifting due to surgery and im planning on coming back and starting working in the 7, 5, 3 rep ranges. So three sets with a total of 15 reps. I can’t squat or deadlift for 2 weeks, which is gonna drive me insane. Might not be able to do any leg work actually. Anyways is 7,5,3 enough to boost my strength levels while still building muscle mass? Also is it enough volume? I mean before I would do 10,8,6 for bench press for a total of 24 reps. Now I will be doing 7,5,3 for a total of 15 reps. Is this as beneficial? In my mind I’m still doing the same amount of work but at higher intesnity. I looked into wave training i think its called but im hesitant to use it as i do not fully understand how to properly do it. thanks

If you just had surgery, heavy lifting might not be the best thing for you for a while.

If you are new to training and like the advice on rotating routines on this site, you might want to check out this article by Charles Poliquin. It’s a rotation between 4 of his popular programs:

I am not a powerlifter, so my methods may not apply to you, but I rarely do less than 10 reps per set of squats. I squat olympic style, though, so that’s a bit different. My squat sets will be somewhere between 10 and 25 reps, and I usually do 150+ squats/variations on a given leg day. But again, I am not a powerlifter… in 5/3/1, Wendler recommends 3x5 squats plus 50 reps in assistance (per exercise, but one is usually abs on squat day), so that’s 65 reps for the workout, and he is a lot stronger than me.

I hope your recovery from surgery is fast and complete.

Im far from an expert but if theres one thing ive learned, its that rep ranges dont seem to have quite as much of an impact as people usually think, and it also depends on the muscle group. some muscles have a higher ratio of slow twitch fibers and respond better to high reps. some muscles have more fast twitch fibers and respond more to low reps. i believe there was a series of articles on here about that call How to Develop Any Muscle Group. you may want to look into it.

At the end of the day, though, its probably best to not limit yourself to a small rep range. 3-7 is a pretty small range and the benefits you’d get from seven reps probably won’t be a hell of a lot different from 3 reps, although thered be a little bit less potential for pure strength gain. If i was you i would just try the Boring But Big assisstance program from Wendler. after your three work sets, load the bar with 40-50% of your max and do 5 sets of 10. youll get bigger and stronger, plain and simple, without having to nitpick and overthink something like rep ranges. after a cycle with that percentage, try moving up to 60%, and then up to 70%. this can be seriously tough so dont try to be a hero haha. its better to start off too light than too heavy.