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High Reps for Bodybuilding


high rep meaning anything between

12 - 25 reps

use it? condone it?


Me and my gym buddy use a 20/15/12/8/6 or something along those lines. We'll drop the 20 rep set after about the second exercise, its used primarily to get the blood flowing, just as a warm up. It works pretty good for us, but it really depends on what level of training you're at. If you're just beginning, or don't have a very muscular base yet, I wouldn't worry about high volume training. Just keep it basic. and eat more.


i always warm up with nothing less than 25 reps of either just the bar, or very low weight. like you said i like to get my blood boiling a bit before i run into the actual sets.

but i was wondering about rep schemes like

4 x 25
4 x 15
3 x 20

something along those line


You can still build muscle at those rep ranges, but it's generally accepted that the best range for hypertrophy is lower than that, somewhere between 6 - 12 depending on how advanced or inexperienced you are (advanced being closer to 6 reps, inexperienced being closer to 12 reps). Those rep ranges will mostly build more endurance. In my opinion, if I ever do use particularly high rep range training, I do it with legs, specifically squats. 5x20 is pretty painful. I'd just stick mostly to lower rep ranges and only occasionally venture into those rep ranges for the sake of variety.


Why not just try it? Give yourself a couple of weeks to test it out fully, and see where it gets you. The only bodyparts for me personally that respond to those rep schemes are my traps and quads. You may find that it gets you much larger or it gets you nowhere. You'll never know unless you try.


I keep it simple, I start very light and work up to very heavy (or at least whats very heavy for me)
First set is usually 15 to 20 reps with a very lift weight and from there on I do 6 to 8 reps for 5 sets while climbing to a heavy weight, especially with chest, I've torn muscle before and this method feels safe.


Doesn't work for me... only gives a nice pump.

2-5 reps is honestly where it's at


use all rep ranges, high reps will help muscular endurance which will help you do more work in less time with heavier loads which will ultimately make to stronger. Improving your 15rm will help your 10rm and your 5rm. High reps make you work really hard too.


These responses don't make much sense. If a certain rep range like "12-15" only gives you "a nice pump" then you aren't lifting heavy enough.


It also isn't this complicated and there is no need to jump around to all rep ranges all of the time. The goal is to find what works best for you, not to constantly flip around just to do it.


You can look at Ronnie's Invincible dvd for ideas/example about higher rep training. Even he states multiple times that high reps (with relatively heavy weight for that rep range) "is no joke".


IMO higher reps work for some muscle groups, but just doing high reps for the sake of high reps isn't going to work. And taking what works for Ronnie, at his training age, strength, size, and genetics, is not generalizable to most people here.

Here's where I'm starting to lean for higher rep training if you're that way inclined; for big movements that recruit lots of muscles, like squats, find a load that you can lift 4 times. Lift that load in training until you can hit it for a 15 rep set, then start all over again at a higher load. Done.

My personal preference is exactly the same as X's......find what works for you and stick to it for a couple of years.


I do legs with high reps... kind of.

Basically, I'll ramp up to my top set for as many as I can do, generally in the 4-10 range.

Right after, I use a slightly lighter weight that I can only managed 6-10 times, but I do it 20 times instead. Basic breathing squats / widowmakers. I don't think there's a whole lot that will add slabs o' muscle onto your legs than WMs.


I think what these responses say is to find what works for you and stick to it.

My only two cents is that rep ranges that high for work sets are difficult to maintain any type of intensity. The tendency is to coast through the first ten reps and the only real work occurs on the last 8 or so reps. If this is the case, load up the bar and do some real work with 8 rep sets.


I like doing higher reps for leg presses or squats sometimes. Generally though i would say a weight that is heavier in the 4-10 rep range would probably be more beneficial. High rep back off sets seem to work for a lot of people as well after they have hit the heavier lower rep stuff. Dumbell rows done Kroc style seem to work really well too going as high as 20 reps or so those can be brutal especially if you use an honest weight you will be sucking wind at the end of a set of those.


My personal approach is to more or less ignore sets entirely. Rather I go forward with a rep range, or better yet an aggregate work total (total poundage moved) and simply try to improve upon it each workout irrispective of sets. This method sort of co-ops on Waterbury's and Staleys approaches and it works very well. I find it's a less complicated approach which allows me to think of my workout in somewhat more macroscopic terms.

For example if I successfully moved X lbs last workout in a particular movement I'll try to move X+ in this one. Seems to work for myself and all the trainees I've turned on to this approach.



A pro once told me to always try to get 10 reps of a weight you can barely lift for 8. This made no sense at the time.


This is similar to the idea of taking your 6 rep max, lift it utnil you reach 25-30 reps approach, with 30-60 seconds between sets (although this part isn't critical). Your first set will be 5-6 reps, your second set 4-6, but by the end you are doing doubles and singles. This results in more overall volume and more work with a heavier load, more than with most any other method (ramping, straight sets, pyramids, whatever).

Higher reps should consist of a small percentage of your work imho. Good for the conditioning, hitting that small pool of fibers that respond to that, pumping blood into the muscle, etc. but for overall muscle building not so important.


Bingo! Very succinctly put. There is always a place for 'higher reps' as there are for all rep schemes, it's likely best not to get too hung up on the counting! The key isn't necessarily how many reps are performed, that's only one factor in the overall equation. Rather think a little more broadly in terms of work performed and all should be well.



I work each muscle twice each week.

I'll go heavy compounds in the 3-6 range, and for the second workout I'll do lighter isolation work in the 12-15 rep range. I've been doing this for four to five weeks and I've made substantial improvements on all my lifts.