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Rep ranges and their effects on size


Welcome to the EliteFitness.com Bodybuilding Site! Please join this discussion about Rep ranges and their effects on size within the Weight Training & Weight Lifting category.

Excerpt: I've always seen stuff like this: 1-5 reps = increased strength, little increase in size 8-12 reps = best for size Well I have to say that the lower reps are building more size for me than the higher reps ever did. What about you guys? I wonder how many people are out there like me who hammer away at those high reps without gaining? For me:

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  1. #1
    Olympian Mike_Rojas's Avatar
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    Rep ranges and their effects on size

    I've always seen stuff like this:

    1-5 reps = increased strength, little increase in size

    8-12 reps = best for size

    Well I have to say that the lower reps are building more size for me than the higher reps ever did. What about you guys? I wonder how many people are out there like me who hammer away at those high reps without gaining?

    For me:

    Lower reps = heavier weight = bigger, thicker muscles

  2. #2
    Freak Zander1983's Avatar
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    For maximum size I think you need a mix of all rep ranges which can be best achieved through periodization. Look at HST, DFHT and 5x5. Some of the best generic hypertrophy programs that mix high and low reps.

  3. #3
    Olympian Mike_Rojas's Avatar
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    I think you guys are right. I've just noticed a lot of size gain from low reps that I wasn't expecting. Not that I'm complaining...

  4. #4
    Olympian thebrute's Avatar
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    i agree. for a month i'll do high reps and then go back to WSB basics and do doubles and triples and see where i'm at. scott cartwright on deeps board has a good routine going right now. doin a lot of high reps on some shit but it awesome and impressive to look at his workouts. tb

  5. #5
    Registered User The_Eviscerator's Avatar
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  6. #6
    Mad Scientist coolcolj's Avatar
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    It's all about the tension, and volume of work.

    Obviously with lower reps, you can use more weight, as long as you do enough sets you will get big from it - over a period of a week that is. If you move it fast, even better.

    Just remeber that with higher reps you get that extra, "fake" non-contractile size
    Last edited by CoolColJ; 26-Aug-2003 at 08:06 PM.

  7. #7
    Freak casualbb's Avatar
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    Think of each rep as accumulation of muscle microdamage. Based on that definition, the number of reps in each set don't matter, just the total reps.

    So you have X total reps at Y weight.

    There is truth to what you say, mike. It's generally easier to increase one's 1-5RM then one's 10-15RM. Cue the progressive load. Like CCJ said, if you're doing enough volume that'll have you growing just fine.

  8. #8
    All Natural
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    The article does a good job of illustrating the benefits of periodizing the use of different rep ranges, except it doesn't mention the additional benefit of high rep training for increased capillarization and mitochondrial proliferation. In addition to the functional athletic benefit of increased anaerobic endurance capacity, these improvements mean extra ability for your body to feed your muscles for recovery purposes and increased vascularity when you get your bodyfat down low enough.

  9. #9
    Mad Scientist coolcolj's Avatar
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    digging up that quote from Glenn Pendlay again

    ------------


    Hypertrophy: guys, i wrote this in responce to a question on the think muscle board... i thought it might be of interest to some of you here. if not, well no harm done i guess. there are basically 3 trainable factors involved in size and strength.

    sarcoplasmic hypertrophy... does not directly increase strength but can effect it by increasing tendon angle at the attachment.
    but of course increases size.

    sarcomere hypertrophy... increases contractile proteins in muscle thereby increasing strength directly and also size. neural effeciency... increase in the percentage of motor units that can be activated at any given time. no effect on size but increases strength.

    the training for each quality exists on sort of a continuim. training for sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is high volume and low intensity... like 10 sets of 10 for a muscle.
    training for sarcomere hypertrophy is med intensity and med volume... like 5 sets of 5 for a muscle.
    training for increased neural effeciency is high intensity and low volume... like 5 max effort singles for a given muscle.

    now, each style of training effects each muscle quality, but in different quantities. for example, 10 sets of 10 will result in a high degree of sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, some sarcomere hypertrophy, and little or no increase in neural effeciency.
    5 sets of 5 will increase all 3 qualities, but will effect sarcomere hypertrophy the most.
    max effort singles will increase neural effeciency a great deal, but will have only a small effect on hypertrophy of the sarcomere, and little or no effect on sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.

    so no matter how you train, you are likely to get both bigger and stronger... but the degree to which each quality is increased depends on the training.
    as you get more advanced, the picture changes somewhat. for example, if a highly trained explosive athlete, like a shot-putter, did only workouts of 10 sets of 10 for a month, he would get hypertrophy of the sarcoplasm... but likely NO hypertrophy of the sarcomere and would likely LOSE neural effeciency, simply because he was so highly trainind in this quality beforehand that 10 sets of 10 would not be sufficient stimulus to even keep what neural effeciency he had. also... for a beginner, doing multiple singles would likely lead to some size increases. but for an advanced bodybuilder it would not be sufficient stimulus to keep the sarcoplamic hypertrophy already present. now, as far as whether training for one quality helps subsequent training for another quality, the answer is yes. for instance, an athlete who is only concerned with explosive strength will still train at times with higher reps and experience some sarcoplamic hypertrophy... this "supports" later gains in sarcomere hypertrophy and neural effeciency by building work capacity (sarcoplasmic hypertrophy adds the neccessary ingredients such as cappillaries to the muscle to support high work capacity later in the training cycle, so the athlete can do a higher volume of work).
    also, a bodybuilder who is only concerned with size will do most of his work with volumes and intensities of training which favor hypertrophy of both the sarcomere and the sarcoplasm. but heavy work done to increase neural effeciency will also help... the ability to activate more motor units during an all out effort will make the rest of his training more result producing and effecient.

    as far as how to "cycle" these different types of work during a training cycle... well at almost all times during a training cycle you should do at least SOME work on each quality... if you totally neglect some portion of the muscle you will lose performance in that quality. however, you should shift your concentration of work from the least important quality for your sport over time to the most important. in other words... a bodybuilder might begin training for a contest 6 months away with more high intensity work, and gradually shift the emphasis over the months to more med. and low intensity work.
    a strength athlete would do the opposite. hope this helped in some way.

  10. #10
    Pro Bodybuilder Toozee's Avatar
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    Fantastic article man.

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