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High Rep Training for Size?

Any thoughts on using high rep training for hypertrophy? Especially for older guys with some experience. I’m talking 20+ reps. Two sets of each exercise and doing a whole body routine 3x/week.

I’m 54 and dealing with injuries and this is pretty much my program. However I do more sets than that. Total volume my be the same since not every set hits 20 reps. I do a lot of combination work. For instance I will do light inclines, immediately followed by seated curls, then lateral raises, then tricep extensions all in the same bench/chair with very little rest in between. Then maybe lay pull downs then some cable work then legs. All done in about an hour or so.
I think it works well and keeps heart rate high and gives and overall good workout.

Thanks for the information. I think as long as you keep the intensity high, this type of workout can be effective. For me, it’s more psychological. I’m so used to going heavy-ish that I’m afraid to try going lighter. I suppose I just need to bite the bullet and give it a try.

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When you’ve had multiple shoulder surgeries it makes you reconsider your old philosophies. I used to focus on PRs and such but now it’s about aesthetics. Muscle activation is my goal now


High reps can be a nice change up for awhile. Some guys love them and get great results from 20 rep sets.

Other dudes hate doing all those reps and get bored.

Either way I though of you when I saw this article about using other techniques to get gains with less weight.

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Thanks for the link. I don’t think boredom would be a factor for me. I just don’t want to waste a month of training to see if this works.

There’s really no such thing as wasting a month of training man. It’s all a drop in the bucket. At best, you’d be able to decide you do or don’t like something. Most likely, it’s not enough time to make a real determination of anything.


I was actually hoping that I’d hear from some guys who’ve tried this rep scheme. I see your point, I suppose I just need to decide myself.

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In my late 30s I was using sets of 20 or 25 because my joints hurt.

At first I messed it up by going too heavy. I would get 12-14 reps, then try to rest and catch a breath or two in the locked out position before finishing. This took tension off the muscles and made the training less effective.

Or I’d get 15-16 good reps then heave or cheat the last few reps up using lots of leg drive or hip pop or whatever other cheat way I could get the last few reps. Again, this make the high reps less effective.

Pumping the reps out with a smoother more steady cadence worked better.

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Interesting. I think that will be the toughest mental challenge. Choosing a weight light enough to get a great workout, but not so light that it’s ineffective.