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Ideal Reps for Building Mass?

So, I'm working out mainly to build muscle mass. I'm 16, 5'7 and I weigh between 130 and 135 lbs. My 3RM bench is 175lbs. I've been pretty satisfied with my mass growth since I started working out, but lately I seem to have hit a wall when it comes to building mass.

To be honest, I’ve never been too fond of the idea of actually setting a routine in stone for myself. I work out 5 days a week, and do coordinate what muscle groups I work but I don’t pre-meditate exactly what lifts I’ll do for each group and in what order. Obviously, though, I do have a set arsenal of motions and I basically pick group-specific motions from those on my spur-of-the-moment preference.

Anyway, lately I’ve been reading some articles about lifting for mass gain and I’ve become concerned with my rep tendencies. Now, I know that bodyweight exercises like say bodyweight squats in high sets are obviously not nearly as good for building mass as weighted squats with low reps are. That’s a given. But, I’m a little confused as to where the line is drawn. While I obviously use extremely low reps and high weight for my squats and bench (3-5 reps), my other exercises usually include higher numbers like 12-16 reps.

My question, to anyone who’s willing to answer it after my unnecessarily long rant of a post, is are these numbers negatively effecting my mass gain? Should I lower my reps, and how much if so?

I’ve been particularly disappointed with the lack of growth in my arms lately. As I said, my reps for arm workouts usually include between 12 and 16 reps per set, usually for 3 or 4 sets. My arm workouts include the usual stuff… tricep extensions, tricep rows, single-limb bicep curls (bench or wall supported) and standard rows. They’ve gotten me pretty far in the past, and now I’m just being let down with my lack of progress in the past few months.

I know I’m a physically small guy and I’m very strong for my size, but I’m obviously not at my peak. There’s so much more potential gain for me and this wall is driving me crazy.

And, just f.y.i, I take Surge Recovery before and after my workouts, and a serving of creatine along with my after-workout Surge. I just made the switch from Metabolic Drive to Surge.

What’s your diet like. And do you change your exercises around every once in a while. If you do the same thing over and over your body adapts and you get less bang for you buck over it.

[quote]Skrussian wrote:
What’s your diet like. And do you change your exercises around every once in a while. If you do the same thing over and over your body adapts and you get less bang for you buck over it.[/quote]

To add to Skrussians comment, do you ever change your set/rep scheme? Once the body has adapted, you’re going to need to make some changes to your program.

If you’ve hit a wall at 135 lbs. you aren’t eating enough to build mass. And that ain’t a wall, its a hurdle. Eat more and get over it.

As far as reps go, if you are doing more than 12 you are working too light. Optimum reps for mass are 8 to 12. Also, reduce the rest between sets to 15-20 secs.

Good Luck.

[quote]Arms Afire wrote:
If you’ve hit a wall at 135 lbs. you aren’t eating enough to build mass. And that ain’t a wall, its a hurdle. Eat more and get over it.

As far as reps go, if you are doing more than 12 you are working too light. Optimum reps for mass are 8 to 12. Also, reduce the rest between sets to 15-20 secs.

Good Luck. [/quote]

That sounds like lactic acid training. 15-20 seconds of rest between sets? Thats damn near Tabata.

I guess you can call it whatever you want, but it works. I’ve been doing 15 seconds between sets for some time now. It keeps your heart rate up and if you take about 8 deep breaths you are ready to go again. Once you get used to it (a couple weeks) you wonder why you were wasting all that time before.

Are you one of those guys that reads the paper between sets?

Decrease your reps to 6 so this will allow you to work with more weights stimulating growth.

Mate you’re small, young and healthy right? Eat lots and lots (no really, more) and know that it all works for a while. Do one rep scheme for a while until you stop improving in lifts and scale weight, then change it up to something different.

Read about training volume, and these articles-

‘continuum training 1 and 2’

‘set/rep bible’

Generally, low-rep sets will make you stronger, and 6-12 will fill you out more, as will a higher volume. Personally i vary now between 3x6-12 (depending on lift) and tapering my sets and reps up and down when i stagnate. It’s intuitive, and takes time, but stick with it and you’ll be a better man for it.

I’ve also heard good things about the EDT training system, but haven’t tried it, but that seems really clear and simple, worth checking out man. Good luck

I forgot the most relevant article for your question- ‘locked and loaded’

I just want to congratulate our OP for a very well written message. I’m betting that he’s a pretty good student too.

OP, you’ll learn a lot by reading Thibideau articles. Here’s two for you:

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=811783

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1474118

they’ll answer a lot of questions you don’t even have yet.

Good luck.