T Nation

Rep Ranges

When a workout is written out, the reps will often be written something like: 6-8 10-12 12-15 etc. what is the purpose of giving this range ?

Well, if you’re doing three sets, you’ll likely get weaker as you go along and therefore get less reps. Some people avoid this by using a faster tempo to reach the same number of reps each set, but I think that’s a mistake most of the time. Probably better to lower the weight and hit the same number of reps each time. That’s debateable, though.

I understood Tek’s response, but maybe you needed something a little more simple. The rep ranges are what you are shooting for. Example, you are trying to get anywhere from 6-8 reps. If you get 9 on the first set, 7 on the second set and 5 on the third set, you are still within the approximate range. You can, like Tek suggested, lower the weight to stay within your rep range. If strength is your concern, then keep the weight the same. If getting bigger is your concern, then do as Tek suggest. Pick a lighter weight to stay in your desired rep range. Also, as he suggests, TUT (time under tension) should stay the same if you are concerned with size. If you do 4-0-1, which is 4 seconds to lower and no pause at bottom and one second to lift. This is five seconds total. If you lift six reps that equals 30 seconds (6repsx5seconds). If you don’t change the weight and you only do 4 reps, that equals 24 seconds, which is getting more into the strength vs. size area. If you speed up your TUT, to a 2-0-1 to make your reps, let’s say 6. Then you only subjected your muscles to an 18 second time under tension (6 reps x 3 seconds).
Which is definetly not enough time under tension for size. More for strength.

Ok, I got a little more technical, can’t help myself. Hopefully you’ll get this.

Also, a key part of it is, when prescribing
a training program for someone, unless you
know the individual and are familiar with his
performance on that exercise, the number of
reps is guesswork anyway – there is a “plus
and minus,” or a range, for example 6 to 8.

It is not as if we want you to do 7 reps and
exactly seven, if you can do 8 you have ruined
everything or if you can get 6 then it’s another total screwup… not at all. If you
use a weight that allows you 6 reps, or 8
reps, you’re in the ballpark we’re planning
for the objectives we have.

Even this is often pretty far off. It’s better
to talk in terms of 1RM – percent of weight
you can lift for 1 rep in good form. You’ll
see some drastic differences: one guy, on
seated calf raise, will get 20 reps with 60%
1RM, and another will get 8… both are
achieving the same training objective, and
the guy who only gets 8, should not drop the
weight further to try to get 20.

When you see rep ranges they are averages.
They will not always be right for you.

So they are not given as exact numbers.