Is doing 1 to 5 reps for strength and 6 to 12 for muscle size correct? Yes, but too many trainees use these rules wrong!
Rep Range Riots!
I have been to many a bodybuilding and workout forum where people get into huge fights about what’s the best rep range for strength and muscle growth. The basic “rules” being these:
- 3 – 5 reps per set for maximum strength
- 6 – 12 reps per set for maximum size
- 15 or more reps per set trains endurance
But then you have, say, a bodybuilder open a thread stating that 6 to 12 reps for building muscle size is wrong, because he just switched to “heavy” 3 to 5 reps sets and his gains were OMG! Of course someone takes objection about that because his experience is the complete opposite!
This alone is worth for at least 10 thread pages.
If you are really unlucky (because you happen to be the forum’s moderator) you get a powerlifter into the discussion saying that they, the powerlifters, obviously were right all along with their heavy sets.
Total flamewaring ensues.
It’s How You Use These Rep Ranges!
In truth, the rules are correct, but some guys don’t think through how they apply them:
Does that remind you a bit about my rep range manipulation plateau breaker? Yes, it’s the same principle!
The 80/20 Ratio Is Not Set In Stone!
In the video I said to do 80% of your sets in the rep range ideal for your goals, and the other 20% in the one “not ideal.”
These two numbers aren’t set in stone. Experiment a bit. Just recently I did two “heavy” arm trainings in a row and when I went back to my regular rep range, I was rewarded with two more good reps.
Picture courtesy of Alex Pepperhill.