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Question About Rep Ranges

Sort of a random question:

I’m in week three of Waterbury’s Total Body Training. I’ve noticed some things: I tend to have amazing work outs on the days that involve sets of 8 reps.

The days with lower reps (3x5 or 4x5) come in a close second, but the higher rep days (2x15 or 3x15) are not so good. I never feel like I get as good of a work out–and i’m using the weight he recommends (flirting with failure on the last rep).

What does this mean? Have something to do with muscle fiber make up? Is it normal to have an ideal rep range that you perform well in? and can push yourself very hard in?

thanks in advance.

[quote]boyscout wrote:
[…]

What does this mean? Have something to do with muscle fiber make up? Is it normal to have an ideal rep range that you perform well in? and can push yourself very hard in?

thanks in advance.[/quote]

It’s a combination of 3 factors :

1)your fiber ratio, you seem to have a combination of Type IIa/IIb or IIb-dominant, which is actually pretty good for weightlifting/hypertrophy.

2)Fitness level/GPP/‘training age’. High rep ranges are harder for the cardiovascular system, your lactat acid tolerance might be pretty low since your body is not used to that kind of rep range.

Also, the longer you are training in the “classic” hypertrophy ranges, the more efficient you become at recruiting more fibers at once, which lead a)to a much higher 1-5Rep max but also b)to the fact that, if you don’t train for it specifically, your relative 15Rep weight goes down.

(i.e. when you train for 6 month you could bench 200lbs for 1rep and 160 for 12 (80%), after 4 years you might be able to do 400 for 1 rep and 280 for 12, which would only be 70% since your 1RMax is twice as high)

3)The order in which you are doing the sessions. For example, if you do a low rep day, than a high rep day, then a rest day and repeat, you won’t feel as good on your high rep day since you haven’t fully recovered yet (or at least you are not as recovered as on your ‘heavy’ day)

Thanks for the response, that was all kind of what I was thinking.

My training age is young. Under a year with weights consistantly, but a few times inconsistantly before. I’m 20 years old as well, if that makes a difference.

I know that I felt totally fried after the 3x8 day last week. So the recovery thing makes sense. the program restructures in week 5, and puts the higher rep day at the beginning of the workout week. I’ll have to see how my body responds to high reps in a recovered state.

As far as cardiovascular fitness: i’m awful. I’ve literally never been into working out before. It’s just a recent phenominon. Lost a bunch of weight last summer by cleaning up my diet (sort of on accident) then started putting on muscle and losing fat last semester when i got back to school.

this semester has just been a lot of experiment with different things, seeing what works well for me. Mostly I just go in and try to kick my own ass in the weight room.

thanks for your help.