Rep Range Rules for Strength Training

The Takeaways

There are actually two main takeaways from all of this information. All rep ranges will increase muscle growth but through different pathways. Therefore all ranges should be utilized, no matter if you are gaining or cutting.
Do not use high reps to stimulate fat loss. All weight training will stimulate the metabolism and cause a calories burn. No one rep range will cause significant fat loss over another. Diet and cardio should be the primary tools you use to shed fat and get lean. Let the weight build muscle, let your diet cut the fat.
As you can see, there are no rep ranges that are magically going to make you lose fat or get shredded more than other rep ranges. There is also no merit to the idea that high reps will not allow you to gain lean mass. If you are dieting for a show, just trying to drop a few pounds, or trying to gain as much muscle as possible you must use every single rep range to maximize growth to your fullest potential. So how do you apply this to your own workout? It depends if you are training a muscle group once or twice per week.

If training a muscle group only once per week the best way to work in all rep ranges are as follows:

  • First 1-2 Exercises – 3-4 sets with heavy loads in the 1-5 rep range with compound movements.
  • Next 1-2 Exercises – 3-4 sets with moderate loads in the 8-12 rep range with mostly compound movements.
  • Last 1-2 Exercises – 3-4 sets with light loads in the 15-30 rep range usually with an isolation movement.

When training a muscle group twice per week this really allows you to specialize and focus on one type of training at a time. This is why I most often recommend more frequent training to my clients. Here is a good way to split it up:

Session 1

  • First 1-2 Exercises – 3-4 sets with heavy loads in the 2-4 rep range with compound movements.
  • Next 1-2 Exercises – 3-4 sets with moderate loads in the 4-6 rep range with mostly compound movements.
  • Last 1-2 Exercises – 3-4 sets with light loads in the 6-8 rep range usually with an isolation movement.

Session 2

  • First 1-2 Exercises – 3-4 sets with heavy loads in the 12-15 rep range with compound movements.
  • Next 1-2 Exercises – 3-4 sets with moderate loads in the 15-20 rep range with mostly compound movements.
  • Last 1-2 Exercises – 3-4 sets with light loads in the 25-30 rep range usually with an isolation movement.

The bodybuilding world is filled with misinformation. It is important to constantly question everything. The guy at the gym that is a legend in his own mind is not the only one spouting nonsense. Even top level pro bodybuilders are often misinformed themselves.

I say it all the time, for every method you use in your training and diet it is important to ask, “Why I am I doing this?” If you don’t have a good, scientifically sound answer, then it’s time to reevaluate your methods. The outdated ideas about rep ranges are now a thing of the past.

So get out there, lift brutally heavy weight, achieve skin tearing pumps, and burn it out with high reps. Do this and you’ll be good to grow!

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