Did you stop making progress, both in strength and muscle mass ? You know that your diet is good enough, you take plenty of rest, but you still can’t make some progress ? Maybe it’s time to change something in your workout routine.
While many bodybuilders take their time to carefully choose a training split and the set of exercises for their goals, they often seem to forget about one “small” but important detail that requires consideration – the rep ranges they are going to use to blast trough the plateau.
Many bodybuilders will agree that mixed rep range will produce the greatest result, both in strength and size. However, heading into the gym and doing reps of 20, 80, and 3 just because it’s mixed rep range is not going to do much good for either.
Different repetition ranges are going to deal with different goals, so it’s important for you to recognize the differences.
1. Rep range for strength – Increase the weight, lower the reps
This is a great tool to make your muscles grow. High weight and low rep training will produce primarily strength gains and secondary – muscle mass gains.
When training in the lower rep ranges, you will want to concentrate on the big lifts such as squats, deadlifts, rows and bench presses. Because you will be doing exercises with very heavy weights (at least for your strength levels) it’s important to:
– Warm up really well. You don’t want any injuries to happen because your muscles are not optimally warmed up. About 3-4 warm-up sets and a few minutes of light cardio will do the job.
– Forget about “pumping” sets. Switch the 10 rep sets with 4-6 repetition sets. The 5×5 workout routine and HIT training are common approaches to high weight, low reps training.
– This is an intense workout. Make sure you rest more between sets so you can have the strength to fight again. A good rule of a thumb is 2-3 minutes between sets.
2. Rep range for hypertrophy – Lower the weight, increase the reps
There is an old saying: “You can work long or you can work hard, but you can’t do both at the same time”. This type of training will increase primarily muscular size and secondary – strength. This is usually the rep range that most bodybuilders use.
It also will give you that “pumped up” feeling. You have to understand that most gains that come from hypertrophy training are temporary. They occur as a result of the running blood and nutrients into the non-contractile part of the muscle cells also known as sarcoplasm.
Because you’ll be using lighter weights, the reps will be in the 8-12 rep range. Usually mixing both strength and hypertrophy training will give you the best results.
3. Rep range for endurance – Low weights and very high reps
With this type of training you work mostly on the endurance of the muscles and some minimal muscle growth. The repetitions usually circulate in the 15-20 rep range, but sets of 25, 30, 50 and even 100 reps are not unusual for this type of training.
You can implement it in your workout routine from time to time, just to keep your muscles guessing.
There you have it. Smart mixing of the three rep ranges will certainly produce more strength and muscle mass over time and give you the best from the three different worlds.