When it comes to increasing muscle size, one of the biggest questions I see is, “What is the best rep range for mass?” A lot of guys get it wrong and one of the biggest problems is the word of mouth myth that has been around the gym for centuries. Whoever coined the phrase, “You need to lift a lot of weight to build muscle,” was completely wrong. In fact, I’m not going to sit here and give you more science.
Today, I want to tell you what the best rep range is for building muscle mass. However, I am not going to sit back and give you a rep range. I’m also going to tell you why the rep range I’m about to share with you is correct, why it’s effective, and how it’s backed by scientific research. You will finally learn how many repetitions you need to complete to build muscle size.
I’ll also teach you about time under tension and repeat tempo; These are often the two most overlooked aspects of muscle development. In fact, they are so overlooked that when I approached a personal trainer at my gym and asked him about time under tension (TUT) and rep tempo, he had a big smile on his face and was quite surprised at that he even knew what these things actually were. Everything I’m about to teach you goes hand in hand, so be sure to absorb all the information here and take notes if necessary.
How many reps to build muscle mass?
Before I can answer this question, you must first understand that there are 3 different types of muscle building. You can develop muscle strength, size, and endurance.
Where most people get confused is the difference between muscle strength and muscle size. If you are training for strength, you need to lift heavy weights with low repetitions. Strength training will increase your muscle density (strength), without increasing your actual muscle size. Size training will increase your muscle size, add some strength, but allow your body to put more force to use in the future. I mean, the bigger you are, the stronger you can be.
The best rep range for mass is 8-12 reps for beginners and 6-12 reps for intermediate or advanced lifters. I know this may come as a surprise, but it comes directly from the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s personal training program. If you don’t believe me, feel free to grab the book and see for yourself.
What about time under stress?
Lifting in the proper rep range is of no use to you if you are not also lifting in the correct time range for time under tension. Some of you may wonder, “Well, what is time under stress?” Time under tension is the amount of time it takes you to complete 1 total set of any given exercise.
For instance: If you do 12 reps of bicep curls and it took you 45 seconds to complete those 12 reps, then your time under tension would be 45 seconds. You might be wondering, “Why is Time Under Tension, also known as (TUT), important?
Jim Stoppani, a bodybuilder with a Ph.D. in exercise physiology, states that if you’re trying to increase size, you want a TUT of between 40 and 60 seconds. Anything less than 40 seconds and you are focusing more on strength; A little over 60 seconds and you will focus more on endurance. The fact is, if you can keep your muscles under tension for 40-60 seconds, the more the growth process will be stimulated.
Rep Tempo is another key to building mass.
Have you ever seen guys get up in horrible shape? Of course yes. The key to building mass is sticking to a good rep tempo. A good rep tempo can be defined as someone who takes 2 seconds on the concentric (against gravity or machine) of the lift, does an isometric hold for 1 second, and then takes 3-4 seconds on the eccentric (with gravity or machine). part of the elevator.
For instance: If you were to bench press, you would lift, slowly drop the weight onto your chest for a 3-4 second count, and then push the weight up for a 2 second count, and repeat. Why is the tempo of the repeats important?
A study conducted at the University of East Carolina found that a test group of individuals developed 46% more muscle if they focused on a slower rep tempo in the eccentric (gravity or machine) portion of the lift. In simple terms, you actually build more muscle on the negative (eccentric) part of the lift.
Next time you hit the gym, try this.
The next time you go to the gym, try to lose the amount of weight that you normally lift. Don’t let your ego get to you. Lower the weight, use a range of 8-12 or 6-12 reps depending on how long you’ve been lifting weights, take 40-60 seconds to complete each set, and stick to a good rep tempo.
As a final tip, you can adjust the tempo of the repeats based on how many repeats you are doing. If your goal is to gain size and, for example, you are lifting more weight with 6 reps, then the tempo of your rep will be slower than someone who lifts more weight with 12 reps. Remember, for size, your building muscle mass, your goal is always to fall into the 40-60 second rep range.