What Is A Rep Range For Strength?
Rep ranges are used to measure the intensity of training. They differ from one exercise to another, but they all have a common feature: they are designed so that you can perform as many repetitions as possible with each set or weight. Rep ranges vary based on the type of exercise being trained (e.g., compound movements such as squats and deadlifts) and their relative intensities (i.e. low-to-moderate versus high-intensity).
The goal of strength training is to increase your maximum strength. Maximum strength refers to the amount of force you can apply at any given moment during a movement.
If you could lift 100 pounds 10 times, then your max would be 10 pounds.
A rep range is the number of repetitions that it takes to achieve this goal. A 1RM (1 repetition maximum) means “one rep.” A 5RM (5 repetitions maximum) means “five reps.” So if you want to lift 100 pounds 10 times, then your 1RM is 10 pounds.
You can’t do anything else with that weight.
For example, let’s say you’re doing a squat workout and you decide to start off with 3 sets of 6 reps. That means you’ll do 3 sets of squats with 6 repetitions each set.
If you can do 6 reps on your first set, chances are that you’ll be able to do that for the next two sets.
What Is The Best Rep Range For Building Muscle?
The number of reps is not as important as the amount of weight you’re lifting. Both heavy and light loads can build muscle but with different effects on the body. It is not exactly clear how muscles grow, but it involves a combination of mechanical tension, metabolic stress, and muscle damage. Lifting heavy weights (low reps) can increase the tension on the muscle fibers (as long as form is correct), which is more likely to cause muscle size increases.
High-rep training (15-20 reps) is more suited to aerobic and endurance sports rather than strength training. It is more of a muscle endurance type of training effect.
The best rep range for hypertrophy is probably in the range of 8-12 repetitions as it seems to fall in a sweet spot that promotes both strength and size gains.
It is important to note that genetics also have an effect on how you build muscles, the ultimate goal is to lift something heavy and put as much load on muscles as possible.
How Many Sets For Muscle Building?
As soon as you’ve decided on the number of reps, you have to think about the number of sets you’re going to do. As mentioned before, if your goal is to build strength, then choose a low rep range (think 1-5) and a high number of sets (6-10). If your goal is to build muscle, then choose a higher rep range (think 8-12) and a lower number of sets (3-5). If your goal is to get stronger AND bigger, then choose a moderate rep range (think 5-8) and a moderate number of sets (4-6).
This isn’t set in stone though. Numerous studies have shown that performing a small number of sets (1-3) can be just as effective as performing a high number of sets (6-10).
The main difference is that with the higher number of sets, you’ll probably experience more muscle soreness the day after your training.
Do You Need To Rest Between Sets?
It is not necessarily essential to rest 3-5 minutes between each and every set that you do. In fact, in many cases it’s probably better to do more sets with less rest time between them. This is known as density training and loads the muscles with more work in a shorter space of time.
The thing with this type of training is that you have to make sure that your form stays correct throughout. If you start to struggle to complete a repetition then that means you’re fatigued and it’s time to stop.
Resting two to three minutes between density sets will allow you to perform more work without compromising form.
3 Muscle Building Tips
I remember the first time I walked into a gym and saw all these muscle bound guys lifting these huge weights and I’m not ashamed to say I got scared straight away. It seemed so daunting and I didn’t know what to do.
I almost walked back out but I decided to stay and build myself up. There was no coach watching over me either, it was just me and the free weights.
I was scared of getting hurt but that fear quickly turned to confidence when I saw how easy the exercise instructions were to follow. All you really need is dedication and hard work!
Here are some quick tips to get you started.
Tip 1 – Use A Spotter
I can’t stress this one enough. When you’re bench pressing or doing anything that requires you to lift heavy weights off your chest, you need to have a spotter.
If you accidentally drop the weight on yourself then you could really hurt yourself. A spotter can help you get the bar off your chest if you’re struggling to do so.
Tip 2 – Have A Game Plan
This is more for those of you who are worried about getting ‘big’. I used to be one of these people until a guy in my gym explained to me that it’s all about dedication and hard work.
If you’re dedicated to building muscle then that’s what you’ll do, there’s no shortcuts. But, if you’re worried about being bulky then have a game plan to keep your weight down. I don’t want to scare you, but it’s harder to lose weight than it is to gain it. Think long and hard before you start building your body up.
Tip 3 – Start With Lower Weight, Increase As You Go
This tip might not apply to everyone but I found that when I started out, I was using weights that were too heavy for me. I was trying to lift the same weights as the big boys and this was slowing down my muscle building process.
I soon learned that by lowering the weight and increasing it slightly every time I went into the gym, I started seeing results a lot quicker.
You might be one of the guy that can lift heavy from the beginning, but for those who are a little more hesitant like I was, try lowering the weight at first.
I hope that this article has served you well on your muscle building journey. Remember that muscle building takes time, dedication and hard work.
If you find yourself struggling to gain muscle then it’s best to speak with a professional about what you should be doing. Good Luck!
Sources & references used in this article:
Tempo: What is it good for? by A Vargas – thestrengthcave.com
Rep Ranges: Do They Really Matter? by A Vargas – thestrengthcave.com
Anatomy of a Protein Shake: Eating to Build Muscle by J Zacherl – breakingmuscle.com
Try These Kettlebell Workout Splits for Major Muscle Gains by A Read, KV Barbells – breakingmuscle.com
Hypertrophy From Advanced 21s by NT T-Nation – xbodyconcepts.com
RELATED POSTS by HTBUR Stamina – betterweightloss.info
Get The Facts: How to Build Muscle by A Heilmann – Get the Facts series, 2017 – vtechworks.lib.vt.edu
Can Hydration Be As Simple As Listening To Our Bodies? by J Pilotti – breakingmuscle.com