T Nation

How Many Reps per Week to Get Stronger?

In your experience, about how many reps per week in the 75 - 85% range are needed to get stronger? I know this depends on a lot of variables. Training experience, which lift we’re talking about, individual differences all factor in, but surely we can put some rough parameters around it. I’ll frequently read articles on t-nation that discuss rep schemes, but those articles rarely put those rep schemes into the context of a training week or discuss total weekly volume. My reason for asking is I need some perspective for evaluating programs, and weekly volume seems like the most important factor to consider.

1 Like

I count volume by number of working sets. My maximum recoverable volume towards the end of my accumulation block is around about 20 weekly working sets for bench/chest so about 140-160 reps per week at 75-80%

While the spectrum of minimum effective volume to maximum recoverable volume is a range and is different between and within individuals it’s not as broad a range as you would think. PEDs do change the game tho.

It’s better to know yourself and your response to a certain volume dose than to go around evaluating programs.

It varies from person to person and changes over the course of time. There is no straightforward answer. You need to figure out how much volume you need and how much you can tolerate, looking at averages for the general population is not going to et you anywhere.

1 Like

Chad Wesley Smith said that in his experience PEDs do not make a significant difference in MRV because they make you stronger and allow you to handle more weight which in turn causes more fatigue, so the end result is a similar MRV with bigger weights.

1 Like

I can see what your getting at but am a bit dubious about your conclusion.

Didn’t the same blue eyed teddy-bear looking motherfucker say something like increase in volume generates more fatigue than increases in intensity.

Didnt CWS also say directly or indirectly drug use doesn’t make a huge difference to strength/results/numbers/intensity in powerlifting. Greg Nuckols’ in “Steroids for Strength Sports: The Disappointing Truth” ended up concluding there’s about a 10% increase.

Increased work capacity and recovery ability with PEDs sounds like a perfect recipe for increased MRV to me. Well… depends how you think of volume. Number of reps/week, sets/week, sets X reps X weight, weight x distance / work etc.

If you juice up and max out on intensity all the time then maybe you end up with similar MRV but nobody really trains like that except maybe gym bros.

So a full natty dude finds his approximate MRV during one accumulation block and then goes on cycle and determines MRV again the next accumulation block you’re saying it’ll be pretty close? I dunno mane…

Steroids don’t make your nervous system recover faster, they only make your muscles recover faster. When you are over your MRV is it because you are physically crippled or because you are tired?

Let me try impart some wisdom on you, my young friend.

There are lots of “what would I have done differently” threads floating around with lots of strong folk in it.

If you browse them, you will find lots of interesting stuff but you will find nearly no strong people say “gee, I wished I pressed 2 times per week instead of one” or “man, if only I was using the most optimal program with X volume” (you will find comments about terrible programs lol)

That should tell you plenty about how to approach your training while avoiding the inevitable pissing match that’s going to play out between those who speak God’s Truth.


gee, I wished I bench pressed 3 times per week instead of two lel

Too many variables, do some ready program. Remember, more volume is not always better.


25, maybe 28 reps in that range.

I’m curious what you include here; primary & assistance. What is your current bench 1RM? How close to failure do you generally go? I’ve always leaned toward higher volume programs, however that is certainly on the high end.

Includes anything beside flyes/pec dec which I just fuck around on for the pump anyways. This block was the classic mid grip flat bench and incline DB press combo. Counted all the working sets because I don’t get much volume warming up anyways.

Benched 150kg paused… well the shortest pause ever lel lets call it touch and go so about 330lbs.

RPE for working sets is programmed beforehand so don’t really have how “generally” close I go to failure. Working between RPE 7-9 so reps in reserve 1-3. Rep range will vary thru the block 8-12, 6-10, 6-8

Accessory/isolation like flyes is loosely programmed. I write a + in the reps and RPE columns and just fuck about.

Well… it’s literally the highest volume I can recover from so… it’s at the end of the high end for me. Give or take 5 sets and I think most people would fall into that range

Keep in mind I only hit this volume for one week at the end of a micro cycle and then deload immediately after for a nice recovery supercompensation boost when I come back for next micro.

Also it’s built up to thru the training block. i don’t start with that workload, I build work capacity up to it

If I have this right MRV is useful so we know how much we can do in a certain time frame?

Technically you will have increased recovery but that recovery is negated because your workload across the board increases to the limit at which you can recover.

If User and Natty both did the same workout then yes User would recover faster. But that isn’t what happens. Both lifters work to their MRV but since Users workload will be higher their recovery time is the same.

That is a BS article and BS conclusion. He compared tested record holders vs untested record holders. Not Drug Free vs Drug Users. HUGE difference.

That doesn’t account for the fact that anything above the genetic limit is literally unattainable with out drugs so I don’t think percentages are a good unit of measurement.

1 Like

Approximately how much you volume you can handle without overreaching. i.e. how much we shouldn’t do/exceed in a certain time frame

The point of MRV is that you never really train to/at it for any extended period of time. The week before a deload is a great time but besides that it’ll burn anybody out faster than those cheap arse light bulbs I buy from the dollar store, natty or not.

The stimulus recovery adaption curve of natty vs not users is beside the point. Even if recovery time is exactly the same juiced to the gills it does not speak to MRV, If both recover fast enough to train twice a week but our Russell Orhii looking motherfuckers do just one more set/workout i.e. high work load for the week and are able recover their MRV is greater.

Valid criticisms but as far as I know no one has tried to quantify this kinda stuff because frankly its barely measurable anyways. To rip into the dude for having a go with the limited info he has got while offering no alternative or solution is a bit of a dick move

I try to complete 5x5’s, 4x10’s, and like 6x3’s with appropriated weights and try to make it so the last rep of the last set is almost failure. I’ll do this with all compounds in off season training or whenever.

I asked Mike Israetel about this on Facebook, there is no point in increasing volume from week to week in a “strength block” because the focus is on getting stronger and the overload comes in the form of increased weight on the bar rather than volume. You could still start a mesocycle with a light week, but basically you want to pick a number of sets that you can handle for the mesocycle. Most of the stuff he is doing nowadays is relating to bodybuilding/hypertrophy so it makes sense that you would increase volume week to week if hypertrophy (or work capacity) is the goal because volume is the main factor for hypertrophy, but if you do that when the focus is strength then you will have to start too light and you won’t be able to add much weight.

So we’ve come back around to this thread’s actually question.

So volume/number of sets per week more or less stays constant during a strength phase.

How many sets tho? For lower rep higher intensity “strength” sets is there still a MV MEV MAV MRV etc. is it higher or lower than for “Hypertrophy” sets/rep ranges? The same?

Is the process of determining MRV the same with low rep sets?

My issue really wasn’t with how he quantified it but rather it’s a fitness/supplement industry propaganda piece.

He has been in the game long enough to know the profound effect PEDs play in said game. He found information that supported what he wanted to say and added some math.

Ok then we are on the same page.

Israetel’s recommendations are 15-30 for hypertrophy, 10-20 for strength. Per body part. These are just baseline numbers, you have to figure out the details for yourself. And this also assumes that your work sets are no more than 4 reps from failure, if you are doing doubles with 70% or something like that then the number of sets is kind of irrelevant. You would have to count the number of reps instead.

Also, there are other coaches like Mike Tuchscherer who use way more volume than that (with some people at least) and have some lifters making a lot of progress. Of course not everyone can do that, I dropped out of Project Momentum in 2016 at the end of the 3rd week. Something like 1/4 or 1/3 of the people who signed up for that program actually finished it but those who made it through and were able to recover made some good gains.