Truth About Rep Ranges
Should I do high reps with light weight or low reps with heavy weight ? Does the pump matter ? If you have asked yourself these questions then this is the article for you. You will learn the truth about rep ranges relating to your specific goal
Low Rep Ranges (1-5)
When people think of low reps, its usually in the 1-5 range. Its generally believed that low reps will stimulate fast twitch muscle fibers while high reps stimulate the slow twitch muscle fibers, this is a false concept. Your body recruits muscle fibers depending on the load being lifted, if slow twitch fibers cannot lift the load intermediate fibers are recruited and finally fast twitch fibers. In the order Slow<Intermediate<Fast. So when you lift in a low rep range with heavy weight all your muscle fibers are recruited. Low reps are also effective for stimulating myofibrillar hypertrophy. Myofibrillar hypertrophy is an increase in the number and size of the actin and myosin filaments within muscle tissue. This type of hypertrophy is accompanied by strength gains since it involves an increase in the contractile tissue
Moderate Rep Range (6-12)
This is the rep range most people stick to when trying to grow. Moderate rep ranges have consistently been proven in study after study to lead to the greatest amount of growth. The reason is that it provides you with the benefits of low rep and high rep training. The heavy loads stimulate myofibrillar hypertrophy mentioned above, and the increased time under tension will stimulate sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. This is an increase of the sarcoplasm and other non-contractile proteins within muscle cells. They dont lead to much strength gains, this is why bodybuilders look so different to powerlifters. Moderate rep ranges stimulate the pump effect, studies have shown that this increases protein synthesis for a short amount of time.
Moderate reps seem to strike a balance between low an high rep ranges stimulating significant amounts of both myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.
High Rep Range (+15)
High rep ranges stimulate muscular endurance, by increasing mitochondrial density within the muscle cell. While not being able to stimulate much growth, high reps are very useful for depleting glycogen. High rep training will drastically deplete glycogen stores within the muscle. At first this may sound counterproductive but the body will react to this depletion by increasing muscular glycogen stores. In the long run this will allow cells to stretch and lead to greater overall muscle growth and release of anabolic hormones.
I’m a firm believer in utilizing all 3 rep ranges while training. Start your workouts with heavy compound movements followed by lighter high rep isolation exercises to really feel the burn. Check out the workout section to see examples of this method. There you have it the truth about rep ranges.
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