HOW MANY REPS BUILD MOST MUSCLES
Even in the modern world the question of how many reps build the most muscles is not answered completely nor does it have incontrovertible conclusions. If you start searching on the Internet you will most likely find that some proven experts and winners of competitions advise different quantities of reps. If you ask the same question in the presence of a few personal trainers, it will most likely lead to an argument as well. So, in this article I’ll try to answer the question of how many reps build the most muscles.
How many reps should I do?
I’d like to remind you one more time that in this article we speak about optimizing reps for maximum muscle growth, we do not consider other goals like increasing strength or endurance. So, according to recent researches and my personal experiments, the optimal quantity of reps for building muscle is between 8 and 10. This means that you should choose a weight at which you reach muscle failure within the 8 and 10 reps range. This does not mean though that you have to workout only by this strategy like a robot. For instance, you can do the last set with low weight and high reps, or the other way around, high weight with low reps.
Why the range between 8 and 10 reps is the best?
There is a tension theory which claims that the optimal time for a set should be from 30 to 60 seconds. An average rep takes 4-5 seconds, therefore the set time will fall within that range. Though some people can say that all rep ranges produce muscle tension at some point, I can also say that in cases with high reps, the muscle tension doesn’t occur until the last few reps. So, all reps before will be wasted time. In cases with low reps (less than 5), there is another problem because, for muscle growth, another important thing is ample volume. As I said before, working out with extremely heavy weights for a few reps is great to develop strength and confidence, but less efficient for growing muscle.
People who have already done deeper research are probably familiar with slow and fast twitch muscle fibers. For everyone else, I’ll try to explain it briefly. The first type of muscle fibers have the slowest-contractile speed and the smallest cross sectional area. This type of muscle fiber contracts slowly and is capable of holding a steady-paced twitch for a long time. These muscle fibers are used in endurance activities like marathons, long distance swimming, or cycling etc. The second type; fast-twitch muscle fibers are the opposite of the first type. This type of muscle fiber is used for short fast bursts of power in activities like sprinting, powerlifting etc. If we compare the physique of sprinters and long distance runners, we will see that fast twitch muscle fibers are the most important ones for muscle development. And according to the latest research, the optimal reps quantity to develop fast muscle fibers is between 8 and 10.
The best reps range for maximum muscle growth is between 8 and 10. Though all evidences currently support this theory, you definitely should not train only with this reps range all the time. First of all, because the ability of the body to adapt to your training, it’s very important to implement changes from time to time. Secondly, all bodies are unique and even if this reps range will be perfect for 99% of people, you always can be in the last 1%. If you aren’t happy with your progress, try to conduct some experiments. Lastly, according to lots of professional bodybuilders and trainers, some exercises for small muscles, like triceps, should be done in high reps quantities.
So, start your program with a reps range between 8 and 10, then evaluate your results. If you’re happy with them, it will be your main program in which you should sometimes insert low and high regimens to make sure your body does not adjust to that particular regimen. The longer you workout, the better you’ll start understand your body and its needs in order to make the right adjustments. In the next article, we will consider the optimal amount of sets.