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Old 02-12-2010, 02:20 PM   #1
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Default Community Article - Rep Range, Strength and Hypertrophy

I am starting a series of "community articles" where I will ask your opinions on various topics, and I want your blunt, unadulterated answer.

I will take the very best from this conversation and place it in an article on the topic. There is no "maximum" word limit, so this article can be as long as a book if the topic is hot enough.

Don't hold back your opinion, even if you disagree with another lifter...and as always, keep the conversation respectful.

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How much does rep range impact strength and hypertrophy gains?

It is commonly said that lower rep ranges build strength and restrict muscle growth, and that higher rep ranges are good for hypertrophy but not for strength. Is this an oversimplification of the issue of rep ranges, or does the rep range used have a big impact on strength versus hypertrophy gains?
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Old 02-12-2010, 03:19 PM   #2
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i have somewhat of a conflicted opinion as to which one is more beneficial to which body part. personally i cannot get my chest to grow without big weight and low reps. and high reps will never build my strength up period. but on the other hand my bi's for example are not responding well to tryin to move heavy weight at all, neither in size or strength. i seem to have to use an 8-10 slow moving rep(at least 6 minimum) to see any results in both size and strength here. one is telling me to go low reps heavy weight the other telling me higher reps slower increases in weight or gain nothing. with this being said i personally will never go to high rep sets in squats,bench, or deads for strenght or muscle growth cuz i don't believe it can achieve it as well as low reps.
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Old 02-13-2010, 09:27 AM   #3
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Old 02-13-2010, 09:47 AM   #4
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I have seen better size AND strength gains with heavier weights on the big compound moves. In order to be able to move heavier and heavier weights, I have progressively moved my rep ranges lower for those exercises. Conversely for isolation moves, I have found that upping the weight into the 3-5 rep range led to a loss of form as I tired quickly. Therefore I tend to stick to 8-12 for isolation work. Strength gains on this style have been great, even whilst cutting, and I'm looking forward to testing it for hypertrophy on the next bulk. Have definitely maintained more muscle mass using this method than I did sticking to higher rep ranges for ALL movements on the previous cut.

There's my two pence/cents

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Old 02-13-2010, 09:53 AM   #5
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My best advice, dont worry about it. You want strength get stronger, you want size get stronger while cutting rest. Do what ever rep range that gives you an orgasm and add weight to it
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Old 02-13-2010, 10:24 AM   #6
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Looking good so far guys. Thanks and keep it coming.
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Old 02-13-2010, 11:37 AM   #7
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How much does rep range impact strength and hypertrophy gains?

When pulled back to look at the forest as a whole the impact of either becomes so blurred as to nearly become one. It is only when you zoom in and find yourself amongst the trees that individual attributes of either can be seen as to their impact. That said, there is a factor that is vital to both, that applies not only in this question but in all the universe as well.

Time.

Ask a person walking down the street about time, and they will look at their cell phone or watch, and give you a well known answer as they understand it relative to their time zone.

Ask a scientest about time, and you have opened pandora's box. The answer you will get, will rise beyond your IQ level so fast as to give you symtoms of the bends.

To discuss this question you must include time in the equation.

Lets use this rep number as an example, 20 reps.

How many different ways can you do 20 reps? The answer is that there is an infinate way to do 20 reps. Just as time, and numbers are infinate.

1x20
2x10
4x5
3x6+2
1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1+5


See where I'm going?

Most people would think of all of these different set rep schemes as being vastly different. In fact all of them could deliver the same results as the next, or they could in fact be vastly different. It all depends on the time of how you perform those reps. All of this is when viewed from the near term. Viewed from long distance the effects tend to blur together.

Having said all that, and making this complicated, lets make it simple. I prefer simple to complex whenever possible. Work smarter, not harder. That seems like an oxymoron given our choosen sport, but it still holds true.

We need to apply a constant. that constant can be anything we set it as but to keep our perfrmance even we need to use the same constant. change the constant, and you have changed the rules. What will your constant be?
Will it be time between sets? Will it be reps? Will it be sets. Will it be a combination of two.

4x5, and 2x10. Both can deliver the same results. Time between sets, and reps can be manipulated so that either is basically the same.

The original question of this thread has been answered by the man on the street answer. low reps for strength, higher reps for hypertrophy. It's not really wrong, but it isn't right either. It's just easier for most people to use that as a basic rule to apply. It will work, but it's not the only way to do it.
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Old 02-13-2010, 12:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glwanabe View Post
How much does rep range impact strength and hypertrophy gains?

When pulled back to look at the forest as a whole the impact of either becomes so blurred as to nearly become one. It is only when you zoom in and find yourself amongst the trees that individual attributes of either can be seen as to their impact. That said, there is a factor that is vital to both, that applies not only in this question but in all the universe as well.

Time.

Ask a person walking down the street about time, and they will look at their cell phone or watch, and give you a well known answer as they understand it relative to their time zone.

Ask a scientest about time, and you have opened pandora's box. The answer you will get, will rise beyond your IQ level so fast as to give you symtoms of the bends.

To discuss this question you must include time in the equation.

Lets use this rep number as an example, 20 reps.

How many different ways can you do 20 reps? The answer is that there is an infinate way to do 20 reps. Just as time, and numbers are infinate.

1x20
2x10
4x5
3x6+2
1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1+5


See where I'm going?

Most people would think of all of these different set rep schemes as being vastly different. In fact all of them could deliver the same results as the next, or they could in fact be vastly different. It all depends on the time of how you perform those reps. All of this is when viewed from the near term. Viewed from long distance the effects tend to blur together.

Having said all that, and making this complicated, lets make it simple. I prefer simple to complex whenever possible. Work smarter, not harder. That seems like an oxymoron given our choosen sport, but it still holds true.

We need to apply a constant. that constant can be anything we set it as but to keep our perfrmance even we need to use the same constant. change the constant, and you have changed the rules. What will your constant be?
Will it be time between sets? Will it be reps? Will it be sets. Will it be a combination of two.

4x5, and 2x10. Both can deliver the same results. Time between sets, and reps can be manipulated so that either is basically the same.

The original question of this thread has been answered by the man on the street answer. low reps for strength, higher reps for hypertrophy. It's not really wrong, but it isn't right either. It's just easier for most people to use that as a basic rule to apply. It will work, but it's not the only way to do it.
I agree, and the thing about constants is why i love a workout like EDT and GPDT, because the time frame is always constant
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Old 02-13-2010, 10:51 AM   #9
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Well I think the body is adaptive in two ways.

1) Progression of weights - Lifting heavy and trying to keep moving up
2) Progression of reps - Stamina if you will, your body can do more reps if you push it.

I think both can build size. Maybe reps are more for tweaking/sculpting (?).

I go back to a bicyclists legs. Some of them just look plain funny with their frail upper body and their tree trunk legs. Do you think if they were squatting heavy that their torso would look like a twig? I don't. They may be squatting, but I feel sure that it is light to moderate weight for reps. But I could be wrong.
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Old 02-13-2010, 11:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickB View Post
Well I think the body is adaptive in two ways.

1) Progression of weights - Lifting heavy and trying to keep moving up
2) Progression of reps - Stamina if you will, your body can do more reps if you push it.

I think both can build size. Maybe reps are more for tweaking/sculpting (?).
there are quite a few more progressions than this, but one thing i want to note here is that it is pointless to try for only one without the other.

If my max single in the squat is 400ibs, it is really hard to add 5ibs without making that my max triple for example. same thing goes for rep progression, eventually you will hit a point where in order to see a specific adaptation (i.e. growth/strength) you need to add weight, because there is a point in which your muscles will begin to change the adaptation, obviously if your max curl for 8 reps is 80ibs, your arms will look different than if you can do 100 curls with that 80ibs.
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