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Training variables: Rep ranges

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If you´ve been training for a while do you vary rep ranges on your workout programs according to your goals or do you stick with the most common?

In fitness we can achieve different goals from fat loss, muscle growth, strength, power and for each of them we need to work on different rep ranges and that´s what we´re going to talk about in this post.

For the last months and years I´ve seen a lot of guys and girls interested in knowing which is the best rep range they need to focus on, as many other things in training there is not a right or wrong answer and I consider all of them to be great options.

If we go to a gym we see most guys and girls working in the most common rep ranges which is 10 to 15 and most of them do the same thing over and over for months which at least for me it gets boring and we hit plateaus. Working on different rep ranges keep our workout challenging which is what we need if we want our body to change.

It all starts with our goal, we can use resistance training for all goals just by changing the rep range we use, it´s not the same to train for power than to train for endurance the rep ranges are as follow:

1 -4 for power

5 – 8 for strength

8 – 12 for hypertrophy

15 – < for endurance

With this we know in which rep range to work according to our goal, for muscle gain we can use strength and hypertrophy on the strength rep range we´ll be building dense muscle also called myofibrillar hypertrophy which is the one that last and with hypertrophy rep range also called sarcoplasmic hypertrophy we are able to gain size faster but it doesn´t last, if we take some time off the gym we start losing that size. This two rep ranges are the ones we can focus on more to build an aesthetic physique.

For power and strength rep ranges we need to use compound movements which are the ones where we can lift more weight, for hypertrophy and endurance we can use compound and isolation. The endurance rep range can help us burn fat and sometimes gain some muscle, we can use all types of exercises, compound, isolation and bodyweight.

If our goal is to gain muscle mass then the best option is to focus on building dense muscle mass by focusing on the strength rep range around 5 to 7 reps using compound and bodyweight exercises and add some isolation exercises for weaker muscles using the hypertrophy rep range around 8 to 12 reps.

Getting stronger on the first 3 rep ranges specially around 5 to 12 reps by using a tool called periodization is an awesome strategy that keeps us getting stronger and gaining muscle mass, if we get stronger on the power and strength rep ranges we are able to lift more weight on the hypertrophy rep, gaining muscle is about getting stronger (we also need enough quality food and recovery).

When we work on power and strength the central nervous system gets stressed a lot and it takes more time to recover so we need to consider volume and frequency when training on this 2 rep ranges, with hypertrophy and endurance the central nervous system doesn´t get the same amount of stress.

Weight loss and gaining muscle are the most common goals so strength and hypertrophy are the most used rep ranges but once we achieve our goal taking some time and maintaining it gives us the opportunity to work on the other 2 rep ranges. When we train for power we need to be really conscious and focused on form to avoid injuries, I personally don´t like to work below 5 reps, I mostly go from 5 to 7 and 8 to 12 focusing on building dense muscle with bodyweight and compound movements and sometimes I add some isolation exercises. Sometimes I use the endurance rep range with bodyweight exercises specially when I want to lose fat and I could go for 50 reps in some exercises.

Our ultimate goal is to improve body composition and get a physique that is useful, we don´t want a body that looks incredible but it´s not able to perform, by this I don´t mean that we need to be pro athletes what I mean is that we want a body that looks amazing and that performs great in our daily activities and also in case of an emergency.

All rep ranges have their space on training and they´re all great options for different goals, using all of them using periodization keeps our body guessing and making your workouts fun and challenging. Since working out most be a habit then we need to understand all the variables will be talking about to be able to create or adjust our programs accordingly to be able to build the type of physique that we want but also to keep each workout fun and interesting.

Share with us in the comment section which is your favorite rep range and the one you are working on now.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam