The Elite Physique

The Never Ending Question about Repetitions

Part 1 – Muscle Building

Here’s the never ending question about repetitions: “How many reps should I do?” The answer really depends on your goal. It’s really not an easy one-shot answer. Your exercises, reps and even sets center around your primary goal (fat loss, muscle building, muscle maintenance). Let’s discuss this in more detail so you can get a better perspective.

the never ending question abou reps

The Never Ending Question About Repetitions – Now Your Answer…

Muscle Gain Repetitions

Muscle is built through intensity, heavy weight, and proper form. It is also built with quality nutrition, proper rest, and natural supplementation. Let’s assume you have that nailed so we can dig a little more to really get your muscles to respond.

When we speak of quality training in relation to muscle gain, it’s a bit different than just mere muscle maintenance or basic fat loss. The operational element to building muscle is getting enough calories to power your training, as well as to feed your muscle post-training to prompt muscle recovery.

When you are training to build muscle you have to train your mind, as well as your body to move the weight because at least 90% will be mental energy.

To build large and dense muscle you have to target the Type II B muscle fibers, and those are recruited in the 4 to 6 repetition rage. This does not mean you can just choose any weight, start lifting, and expect to explode muscle.

The weight has to be heavy enough in order for you to reach complete muscle failure at the 4 to 6 repetition range. When you go beyond the 6-repetition range you are doing more endurance and muscle maintenance training, unless the set is taken to complete failure. Muscle failure is when you cannot possibly do any more repetitions within a set.

how many reps to build muscle

Question about Reps? Keep In Mind…

Excess reps, sets and exercises aren’t needed to stimulate muscle growth. You need to stimulate the muscle, not exaggerate it. Your goal when training is to tear down the targeted muscle group, then feed it, and let is rest so it can rebuild and grow into a stronger unit.

Constant badgering will not make your muscle respond, but it will send you into over training mode. With this, choose two different exercises for the targeted body part and limit your sets to 2 or 3 in the 4 to 6 repetition range.

Example of a Quality Shoulder Workout for Muscle Gain:

Shoulder Presses – 3-4 sets of 6-8 repetitions to complete failure.
Arnold Press – 3 sets of 6-8 repetitions to complete failure
Rear Delt Row – 3 sets of 6-8 repetitions to complete failure
Upright Rows – 3 sets of 12 repetitions to complete failure

This is surprising to many lifters, but is all you need to do is stimulate your shoulders to grow. Intensity is the key, not countless repetitions.

A study published by Ohio University used 32 men and split into 3 groups.  Each group utilized a different repetition range in their training for an 8 week period.

Group 1 used – 3 – 5 reps

Group 2 used – 9 – 11 reps

Group 3 used –  20 – 28 reps

With no surprise group one (3-5 reps) gained substantially more size and strength than the conventional 9-11 rep group and the higher 20-28 rep group.

Read Part 2 of The Never Ending Question regarding repetitions and fat loss

muscle gain rep range

The Bodybuilding Rule…

Training + Eating + Resting = Muscle Growthred arrow pointing down

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Before You Go...

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Karen Sessions NSCA-CPT

Before You Go...

My name is Karen Sessions and I am a life-time natural female bodybuilder, multi-certified fitness instructor, author, specialist in performance nutrition, and a success coach. I've been in the fitness industry since 1988! I teach people Just Like You how to transform their bodies, get in shape, build muscle, lose fat and compete in Bodybuilding, Physique, and Figure Competitions. When you have the CORRECT information you can have total confidence and turn your dreams into reality... and I can help transform YOUR body. I have helped THOUSANDS of clients reach their goals and I can help you, too

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