How Many Reps Do I Do for Strength and Size?

by Steve

I have a question on sets and reps (a highly controversial subject).  In one of your articles you state that "One set of 6-10 repetitions is enough to build a foundation of strength. Doing more reps/and or sets, trains endurance and will harm your strength building!"  For experienced trainers (such as myself) do you recommend more sets (say 3) to adequately stimulate muscle growth?  Also, are the number of reps that important?
- Steve

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by: Muscle by John

  1. Time..... never train for more than one hour.

  2. 6 reps, 8, 10 ??? For steroid users ONLY! These guys can stress a muscle within 6 reps cause they are pressing 315 lbs etc. I like to use a weight that I can manage for about twenty reps. Feel the pain!

  3. Then I do 18, then 16 , 14, 12...with 4 minute rests, that's 20 minutes.

I use one single technique per muscle group, NOT five or six in some quest to either discover which one works best for me or in the hopes that one or even two MAY do the job??

All strict form produces size, just choose one method per session and change it to something else next time around. Quality is better than quantity. Move to different muscle group for same regimen. Do your abs and calves on alternate days.

High Reps for Hypertrophy vs. Six Reps for Hardgainer
by: Lee

Your question on sets and reps is an important one, and like you correctly state, it is a highly controversial subject. However, from the standpoint of the typical trainee with average genetic potential, I would commonly advise to err on the side of caution and perform the minimum amount of training required to illicit a growth response. Why is this so important? While anaerobic exercise provides the trigger to muscle growth, it is rest and recovery combined which fuels the growth process (without adequate rest, the typical trainee will not grow). In effect, one single set trained hard should be enough to stimulate muscle growth.

Are the numbers of reps that important? I believe they are, and for the following reason: you either train long, or you train hard. It is next to impossible for the average guy to do both. With this in mind, your work set should be as long as it needs to be to stimulate growth, and no longer.

How many reps do I do for strength and size? I will give you a personal example: I currently train the squat exercise using one single set of 6-10 reps. Moreover, I never train to failure, but cycle the intensity. This means I avoid system fatigue and tiredness, and am always eager to hit the weights every 6-7 days. From my own experience, I feel the upper body responds more favorably to lower repetitions (3-5), while the lower body responds well to a higher range (6-10). But don't be afraid to experiment to find the repetition range that best suits you!

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