What Rep Ranges should I use to add strength (or mass, or stamina or weight loss)
Opinions vary but the general consensus is as follows:
For strength-3 to 6 reps with more weight (a higher % of you max-say 80% and up) and longer rest periods and more sets.
For Hypertrophy (mass, size)-9 to 12 reps with rest periods of 30 to 60 seconds between sets. The key to hypertrophy (gaining muscle mass) appears to be “volume” (Sets x reps x load)
For stamina-10 to 20 reps with shorter rest periods
Weight Loss-The key to weight loss from a lifting standpoint is gaining muscle mass. More muscle=higher metabolism=higher calorie burn at rest. High reps, contrary to what you may hear is not the best way to lose fat.
The answer for you will depend of age, experience, metabolism, genetics and a host of other variables.
There is also some cross-over between each of the goals mentioned above. As an example, when you get stronger you’ll also likely get bigger. As you gain muscle mass, you also likely get stronger. But it’s difficult to get maximum results on more than one goal at a time. So you need to prioritize your goals.
It can be more complicated than this but the correct answer for you is whatever works best for you. And you’ll only find that answer through trial and error. But use the rep ranges above as a starting point.
“Hard Gainers” (Ectomorphs-the body type that is naturally thin and has trouble gaining muscle and fat) take note: After a short time of getting your body accustomed to resistance training, work more toward gaining strength using heavier loads and a rep range of 3-6 reps for 8 to 12 weeks. Every week, you should be doing mostly compound exercises like squats, dead lifts, barbell/dumbbell bench presses and military/dumbbell presses. Then refine your rep range for hypertrophy but keep the compound lifts in your programming.
“Splits” also enter into the equation. Splits are simply when and how often you chose to work each muscle group and how those muscle groups are paired. More on this in future posts.
The number of reps is not nearly as important as the quality of the reps you do. Feel the muscle working on each rep (this comes with a little practice). Use strict form (“Cheat reps” have their place but not until you’ve gained some experience at lifting). Concentrate on every rep of every set for the most efficient workout. Otherwise you are just going through the motions and you results will reflect that. Worry less about counting reps and more about the quality.
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