T Nation


My roomate is trying to gain the max amount of muscle that he can. Right now he is doing low reps, usually 5 sets of 5 reps. This is considered powerlifting right? Should he do 6-8 reps to get more muscle size?

Hey, there, thekcguyme. Chad Waterbury discussed this on the guest forum. Here’s an edited version of his wisdom that I saved:

The biggest difference I made that helped with hypertrophy was the incorporation of multiple set (8-12 per body part) with a relatively large load (~85% 1RM) and low (3-5) reps. This targets the Type IIB fibers that have the greatest potential for growth. Simply performing 3 sets of 3 won’t do much for growth, but 10 sets definitely will.

This brings up the arguable point that what works for one person might not work for another, so I put it to the test. Since it worked so well with me, I have used similar methods on numerous clients over the years. My conclusion? It is the way to go! Not only do my clients develop hypertrophy at or above the rate of 10-12 rep training, but they also get a MUCH greater increase in maximal strength levels. Therefore, they get the strength (i.e., performance) to go along with the size. This method, along with adequate protein intake and above maintenance calories is superior to other high-rep methods for the aforementioned reasons.

Low weight (~70% RM), 10-15 reps, 2-4 sets.
Heavy weight (~85% RM), 6-8 reps, 4-6 sets.
Obscene weight (~95% RM), 2-4 reps, 6-10 sets.

Pick one. The first emphasizes size, the last, power. Truly, all three will fill both objectives.