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Thread: Choosing the Right Rep Range

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  1. #1

    Default Choosing the Right Rep Range

    If you’ve been going to a commercial gym regularly, you might have noticed that some guys will crank out a set of 15 reps for an exercise while another guy just does 3 reps on a different exercise. What’s up with that?

    The reason you’ll see people using totally different rep ranges is that some people have different goals. Doing more reps in your weight lifting routine can serve a great purpose, and doing less reps can also be useful.

    Which rep range you ultimately decide to use should be based on your goals and what you want to accomplish. Here, we’ll talk about a few points that will help you make the best decision.

    Let’s take a look at what each rep range can be useful for:

    1-3 Reps: Best suited to boosting your overall strength. The focus here is improving the maximum amount of weight possible for a single repetition. You’ll see powerlifters, strongmen, and weightlifters use these ranges all of the time.

    3-5 reps: Best for developing power, meaning that this rep range is good for the combination of both strength and speed. This is particularly useful for athletes training for sports performance. See stronglifts for more on strength training.

    8-12 reps: This is the magic range touted by bodybuilders as being the most useful for adding lean muscle mass. Your muscles will enlarge the most in this range and feel a “pump” as you workout.

    10-20 reps: Very useful for building mass in your legs. Your legs generally are able to handle more stress than your arms can handle.

    20+ reps: Best for endurance.

    Big and Strong?

    It’s not uncommon for a person to want to build both muscle mass and strength. These two qualities usually go together, but bodybuilders with massive muscles often can’t lift as much weight as a strength trainer with somewhat smaller muscles.

    Using the lower rep ranges will make you stronger first, and your muscles will also grow as a side benefit. Staying in the 8-12 rep range will build larger, more massive muscles first, and you’ll get stronger as a side benefit.

    You can see where I’m going with this. Bigger muscles aren’t always equal to stronger muscles. In general, your muscles will become bigger as they become stronger, but each rep range has a particular focus. Pick your rep ranges based on your goals.

    Just thought I'd throw this out here for you guys who are confused about this kind of thing.
    Last edited by grecowrestler13; 11-13-2008 at 08:08 PM.
    TRAIN LIKE A MADMAN!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Choosing the Right Rep Range

    Should be stickied on the top of the forum.
    "Every artist was first an amateur."
    "You miss 100% of shots you don't take."


  3. #3

    Default Re: Choosing the Right Rep Range

    Great assessment greco. The main thing that kills me is the amount of "recovery" time inbetween sets. I say to all, get on the k-bells. I have made more strength gains using k-bells over the last 3 years than I ever did lifting traditional weights. Pure power and endurance.
    "All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become."

  4. #4

    Default Re: Choosing the Right Rep Range

    Quote Originally Posted by gjfovf View Post
    Great assessment greco. The main thing that kills me is the amount of "recovery" time inbetween sets. I say to all, get on the k-bells. I have made more strength gains using k-bells over the last 3 years than I ever did lifting traditional weights. Pure power and endurance.
    Recovery time differs for each rep range. Here's what's recomended for each range for recovery time.

    1-5 range: 3-5 Minutes: Were looking for just pure strength and power here. Take long rests so that your muscle can recover in time for next set.

    8-12 Rep Range: 1-1.30 Minutes: Were looking to build just pure muscle here and nothing else. Bodybuilder workout right here.

    15+Reps Range: 30-60 Seconds: Were mainly looking for muscle endurace right here. Very little time given for our muscles to rest. Want to work them out while they are still begging for rest.
    TRAIN LIKE A MADMAN!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Choosing the Right Rep Range

    Wow thanks that really helped.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Choosing the Right Rep Range

    Good information thanks!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Choosing the Right Rep Range

    I always had best training results in terms of overall conditioning, strength and speed for wrestlers that I work with by employing intensity techniques that mimic the performance requirements of a wrestling match. Not the exercises themselves, but the intensity training techniques...

    The truth about repetition ranges is that there is no magical range... But if you want to crank up your strength, speed and overall conditioning try this:

    * Perform 6-10 repetitions to momentary muscular failure on whatever exercise you have selected (this assumes that you're already warmed up with one or two lighter sets to engage a neuro-muscular connection for the exercise)

    * Rest for 20 seconds

    * Grind out 3-4 more repetitions to failure

    * Rest for 20 more seconds

    * Grind out 1 or 2 last repetitions.


    That's it... move on after that. This allows you to stimulate the muscle, not annihilate it. The problem with most 'do this many reps' programs is that they have pre-determined repetitions that force you to mentally quit at that number... Your muscles don't work that way. They need to have progressive, muscular overload. This is accomplished by training a muscle to momentary muscular failure and beyond (as described above). You then try to add a small amount of weight or perform 1-2 more repetitions with successive workouts... as often as possible.
    Last edited by WrestlingPerformance; 07-14-2009 at 06:20 PM.

  8. #8
    National Finalist mhs189's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choosing the Right Rep Range

    It's been proven that weightlifters who rest 30 seconds inbetween bench press sets make 30% more gains than those who rest 45 seconds inbetween sets. This is for those who are doing around 6-12 reps

  9. #9

    Default Re: Choosing the Right Rep Range

    Does the first post have to do with all muscle groups? Im just looking to get stronger (not bigger) and i don't know what rep ranges to use for exercises like lat pull downs, bicep curls, bent over rows etc.

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