T Nation

Low Reps vs High Reps For Mass/Size

Hello,

I’ve been doing 8-13 repetitions of each exercise that I do, and if I can do more than 13, I increase the weight by 10lbs.

I’m quite strong for my size now, but I want to concentrate on adding SIZE/MASS rather than strength for a while. Should I do high repetition or low repetition to accomplish this goal?

Obviously, with low rep, I use heavier weights than with high rep. At the moment, I’m concentrating on my upper body.

Thanks,
Wil

Concentrating on your upper body? Why?, if its cause your legs are massive and powerful and your upper body is puny then fine, if not you better train your whole body.

What have you read? Program Design 101 by Mike Robertson explains rep schemes, Different Journeys Different Destinations by Thibadeau gets into that and the differences between training for performance and muscle growth. Also Check out Chad Waterbury and fuck everything else.

Depending on how much of a beginer you are the first two articles may be helpful in understanding the other articles, because it will give you some knowledge of baisic concepts/theories of training.

Definetely low rep, baby. We’re talking 5’s and 3’s, for 6-8 sets. There’s definetely articles here about this; think about it - you can’t get huge without shredding yourself during the workout. And be eating like there’s no tomorrwo, man.

[quote]I AM wrote:
Definetely low rep, baby. We’re talking 5’s and 3’s, for 6-8 sets. There’s definetely articles here about this; think about it - you can’t get huge without shredding yourself during the workout. And be eating like there’s no tomorrwo, man. [/quote]

only part I dont agree with is the shredding yourself part, I am assuming you mean training really hard. Training hard is important, but so is fatique management. This is not something I came up with C. Waterbury and C Staley both make convinceing arguments that blasting your self in the gym workout after workout is only going to get you injured, and that your focus should be on the quality of the work not how much it makes your body hurt.

Again I am not interpeting fatigue managment as taking it easy in the gym all the time.

Hey Wil,

If adding strength is something you want to focus on I suggest the following:

  1. Low reps-2 to 4 area.

  2. Plenty of rest between sets. 3:00 to 4:00 at least.

  3. Work on the big lifts- Squats and Deadlifts etc.

First, if you are seriously asking this question and posting in the beginner’s forum, you are not strong for your size. Center your training around: deadlifts,squats,chin-ups,push presses,bench presses, rows, good mornings, and the variations of these lifts. Read and research. Vary your rep schemes.

With the big, compound lifts mention above, lift heavy weights in low rep ranges. For example, on deadlifts, you should only do singles. If you can do a particular weight 4 times, each rep you do should be from a dead stop position. Restart each rep. These exercises all add the most strength and size, so focus on them. Also, vary your rep ranges when working on supplemental exercises that are geared to add to these lifts.

Thanks for the suggestions.

My lower body is a bit out of porportion compared to my upper-body. Maybe I shouldn’t have posted this in beginners–I consider myself a beginner though–I’ve been what I believe to be “correctly” doing full-body workouts for several months. But I and those around me think I should concentrate on upper-body (I still plan to do lower-body exercises; I just plan to primarily concentrate on upper).

That said, I’m in pretty good physical shape, I just won’t to add SIZE/MASS to my upper body (pure strenght isn’t too bad).

Thanks!

Wil,

Vandaly makes a great point for your to focus on the major olympic lifts. This will help you build your base strong, which sets the stage for growth later on. Also remember that good nutrition also plans just as big of a role in muscle development. I suggest reading the Hard Body Manifesto I & II by JB.

I think you did right by posting here.

[/quote] only part I dont agree with is the shredding yourself part, I am assuming you mean training really hard. Training hard is important, but so is fatique management. This is not something I came up with C. Waterbury and C Staley both make convinceing arguments that blasting your self in the gym workout after workout is only going to get you injured, and that your focus should be on the quality of the work not how much it makes your body hurt.

Again I am not interpeting fatigue managment as taking it easy in the gym all the time.[/quote]

Yeah man, that’s what I meant. You’re totally right; I totally forgot to mention it. My bad, Wil, hope I didn’t confuse you.

Wil1,

this might kinda sound dumb, but people respond differently to different rep ranges. i grow better when i get a pump (and using 12-15 reps),but don’t grow much at low reps (but will increase strngth).

Do both.

Different facets of muscle growth respond best to different types of training. Growth of the myofibrils and sarcomeres require high tension training (think heavy enough not to allow more than 3-6 reps). Sarcoplasmic growth is more an issue of time under load that crosses a moderate tension threshold. Sets that go over about 6 reps promote an adaptive stress that promotes sarcoplasmic growth because the higher number sets meets the greater time duration requirements for sarcoplasmic adaptations. Doing a lot of sets with a weight you can only manage 3-6 reps with can also promote sarcoplasmic growth because the higher number of sets of shorter duration add up to long total duration under load. The problem is that performing a high volume of high tension training is extremely stressful for the Central Nervous System. Most of the people who can handle such training have either worked up to it through increasing tolerance over many years or are just plain genetically gifted. So the better alternative for the Average Joe who wants to maximize growth over the short and long terms is to do exercises for the same muscle involving both very high tension sets (3-5 reps) and sets of higher duration (at least 8 reps, and going over 12 reps is usually a waste of time).