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Repetition Range for Hypertrophy

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Bodybuilding and Fitness Newsletter 10/18/2017

Rep Range Variation

Vary Rep Range to Grow

When we talk about the varying of rep range, the objective is specifically muscle gain so we need to stick to what has been clinically proven. Although there is a lot of evidence indicating that any moderate rep range of between 6-12 reps per set will be the best option for maximizing muscle growth.

Varying your reps is commonly referred to as "bodybuilding-style training" because it provides the ideal mechanical tension, combined with the required muscle damage and the metabolic stress, which together provide all three of the primary factors that insure hypertrophic gains.

The big problem is, most bodybuilders seem to think that training like this means all their training should be done in the 6-12 rep range and they then rigidly adhere this loading pattern, which is a totally wrong assumption. So we are going to clear up a few misconceptions that some of you might be under.

Maximal muscular development can only be built on the foundation of strength. Strength is built and developed from doing sets using low reps like pressing, lifting and pulling low reps ranging from singles to 5 reps in a set. When you get stronger you're able to use a heavier load when training, this increases the muscle tension that you can generate when training with a moderate range of 6-12 reps.

When you are able to increase muscle tension without needing to compromise metabolic stress, you will be setting the stage for enhanced muscle growth. But sports science also tells us that on the other side of the spectrum for enhancing muscle growth is training with a range of 15 to 20 reps in a set.

Sports science, which have examined all the extremes on muscle growth stimuli, tell us that when training high reps like 15 or 20 in a set you need to train sub-maximally so that your intensity in decreased in order to increase your lactate threshold, which is the point where your muscles get flooded with lactic acid.

The reason why this is so important is because with lactic acid building up, it gets to a point where the lactic acid will interfere with muscle contraction. This will obviously reduce the amount of reps that you will be able to complete. Technically speaking it's actually something called the H+ component of the lactic acid which speeds up muscular fatigue and not the lactic acid itself.

The good news is that higher rep training will increase your capillary density and this will increase your muscle buffering capacity. Both the capillary density and your buffer capacity will help to dramatically delay any lactic buildup. This results in you are now able to increase time under tension (TUT), increasing hypertrophy-oriented workload.

You will also be able to develop a much greater tolerance for training with higher volumes of work, a vitally important factor when maximizing hypertrophy. Sports science has now conclusively proven that optimal muscle development will be achieved simply by varying the rep range you train with over time.

The problem is that varying reps ranges needs to be something that is planned and not just randomly done when the mood hits you. Best results have been seen when this varying rep ranges is performed in a structured, periodized and organized training program.

Whether you use undulating and/or linear periodized approaches will depend on your goals. But whatever scheme you use, you need to make sure that you always include the full-spectrum of all loading ranges. Hypertrophy training is best achieved with 6 to 12 reps per set, but training in the higher and the lower intensities are important when optimizing muscular development.

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