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High Reps vs Low Reps
What's Best for Building Muscle

What rep ranges are you currently using in your training?

If you are like most people, it's probably something like this:

Those with the primary goal of getting more defined = doing more reps.
Those with the primary goal of bulking up = doing less reps.

But IS this the best way to approach your training?

A Quick Look Back Before We Move Forward

When you started out, you probably started doing something like 3 sets of 10 reps per exercise.

Did you ever ask yourself "why" 3 sets of 10?

Quite simply because it was a safe, middle of the road target that was first prescribed by the inventor of the adjustable barbell...Bob Hoffman. And in the beginning of one's lifting career, it works very well. So well, that it the formula has stood the test of time.

But once you get past the "beginner" stage of weight training, you'll need more. And this is where people get very confused whether they should be doing high reps or low reps.

So I'm going to give it to you straight, and in the simplest way possible.

ALL Rep Ranges are Important for Building Muscle.

When it comes to specific rep ranges, here are the basics you should know:

1-6 Reps = Strength
6-8 Reps = some Strength with some Muscle Growth
8-12 Reps = Muscle Growth
12-15 Reps = some Endurance with some Muscle Growth
15+ Reps = Endurance

So does that mean if your main goal was to build muscle that you should ONLY being working in the 8-12 rep range?


Yes, 8-12 reps is the hot zone for muscle growth. But if you're only using 8-12 reps, you're holding your progress back. BIG TIME.

Why It's Important to Train ALL Rep Ranges

​When you get stronger in one rep range, it makes sense to assume that you'll be able to use more weight in all rep ranges...yes?

When you have more endurance in one rep range, it makes sense to assume that you'll be able to do more reps in all rep ranges...yes?

If you want to build as much muscle as possible, you'll want to be able to lift as much weight as possible, for as many reps as possible (in good form).

Let's take a look at a real life example. Let's look back to a client who had a maximum bench press of 225 lbs for 8 reps:

I started training him in the lower rep ranges (at the time, it was a 4-6 rep range). 
As we did this, his strength increased. 
By the end of this strength phase his bench press increased to 245 lbs for 8 reps.

What do you think is going to build more muscle? 
225 lbs or 245 lbs for the same number of reps?!?!?

Next, we went through a phase of higher reps (12-15) and his endurance increased.
This increased his bench press to 245 lbs for 12 reps.

What do you think is going to build more muscle? 
8 reps or 12 reps with the same weight?!?!?!

He started out, in our example, benching 225 lbs for 8 reps. That means total volume was 1800 lbs (225 lbs x 8 reps).

He got stronger AND built up his endurance.

Now he can bench 245 lbs for 12 reps. What's his total volume? 2940 lbs (245 lbs x 12 reps)

That's 1140 more pounds of stimulus on his bench press! 
(2940 lbs - 1800 lbs = 1140 lbs)

But it took paying attention to getting stronger as well as improving his muscular endurance.

So can you now see why training ALL the rep ranges can be such so beneficial?

If you want to take your muscle growth to the next level, you'll want to use a variety of rep ranges.

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James Cipriani
Cutting Edge Personal Training
1120 Federal Road
Brookfield, CT 06804
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This CT Personal Trainer says use a multitude of rep ranges