How Many Reps To Build Muscle?

Hey, this is Sean Nalewanyj, of
And in this video lesson, I want to talk about the topic of rep ranges, and discuss what
the optimal rep ranges for maximizing muscle growth. While there’s no definite answer here
that’s going to be perfect for every person in every situation, we can still come up with
some pretty reliable guidelines by taking a quick look at the science and the logic
of muscle growth. So, first of all, there’s two main types of muscle hypertrophy that
can take place. You have myofibrillar hypertrophy and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Myofibrillar hypertrophy
refers to an actual increase of the muscle tissue itself as the body adds more actin
and myosin proteins to the muscle fiber. And this results in a direct gain of what you
might call, “Dry lean muscle tissue.” And the second is sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, and
this refers to an overall increase in non-contractile muscle cell fluid. And although this type
of hypertrophy will cause the muscle to appear larger and fuller, there is no gain in strength.
And the size gains that you achieve from this are going to quickly decreased with inactivity.
There may be some practical benefit to sarcoplasmic hypertrophy in the short-term, but when designing an effective
bodybuilding program, the core focus should always be on producing maximum myofibrillar
gains. So with that out of the way, let’s take a quick look at rep range selection.
And we’ll start by looking at rep ranges that are definitely not optimal for producing maximum
lean muscle gains. So the first range is going to be less than three. And most of the benefits
that you’re going to achieve in the one to three rep range are going to be neurological.
In other words, your body is going to become more efficient at maximizing the strength
and recruitment of your existing muscle fibers without adding any significant size. This
is a good rep range for powerlifters and athletes who are looking to enhance their strength
without actually getting any bigger. But for bodybuilders, it’s definitely not optimal.
And the second rep range is going to be more than 10. While you’ll still definitely see
gains in muscle size and strength with higher rep ranges, in the majority of situations
I wouldn’t recommend going any higher than 10 reps. As you drift into the higher rep
range, two things happen. The first is that the focus shifts away from myofibrillar gains
and onto sarcoplasmic gains. And again, sarcoplasmic gains may have temporary benefits, but an
increase in permanent dry muscle should always be your primary focus. And the second thing
is that the higher rep range is going to cause a greater building of lactic acid, and it’s
going to cause the cardiovascular system to come more into play. And this is good for
increasing endurance, but bad for achieving maximum muscle overload. So, that leaves us
with the basic rep range somewhere between 4 and 10 reps. While anywhere in this range
is going to be effective, I think for the majority of people, somewhere in the middle
is going to be your safest bet. So, for the majority of movements, I would personally
recommend going with a rep range of five to seven. This rep range is not too high, it’s
not too low, and it allows for the best mix of strength and size gains with an emphasis
on myofibrillar hypertrophy. So what that means is that you need to pick a weight that’s
light enough, so that you can complete at least five reps in proper form, but heavy
enough that you can’t complete more than seven reps. And once you’re able to perform seven
reps with a given weight in proper form, you can then increase the resistance by anywhere
between 5lbs and 10lbs, depending on the exercise. Now, let me be clear, this is just an overall
guideline and it shouldn’t be treated as an absolute figure. Depending on your exact body
type, your rep cadence, even your mindset, the numbers can vary a bit. I’m not saying
that four reps can’t work and I’m not saying that if you do 11 reps, the world is going
to implode on you. All I’m saying is that, you know, this is a good reliable recommendation
that will work optimally for the majority of people in the majority of situations. There
are also a few exceptions to the five to seven rep guidelines. The first is for exercises
with the shorter range of motion, such as shrugging movements or calf raises. Because
the range of motion is so short, these exercises are probably going to be better off using
a bit higher reps somewhere in the 8 to 10 range. You might also want to go a bit higher,
and as a result, use lighter weights on exercises that put your joints in a more vulnerable
position, such as side laterals or flye movements. And lastly, your quads and hamstrings will
probably respond best to a mixture of lower five to seven rep sets and higher 8-10 rep
sets. So, to sum this all up, for most people in the majority of situations, five to seven
reps per set is the highly reliable rep range for producing maximum lean muscle gains. But
for exercises with the shorter range of motion, for exercises that put the joints in a vulnerable
position or for some of your quad enhancer exercises, 8 to 10 reps is a good range to
use. So, I hope you found this information helpful. To get your complete step-by-step
muscle building workout, meal plans and supplement plan, make sure to sign up for the no fail
system over on And you can access that for free. And also make sure
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page where we give free supplement giveaways every Sunday night. So, thanks again, for
watching this video. And I’ll talk to you again soon.


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