As you go about building your workout program, one thing that you need to think about is the rep range you are planning on working in. Simply put, reps matter. They can really determine the type of results you see from a workout, so it’s important to give some serious thought to this.
Let’s go over the three primary rep ranges to know about and help you decide which one is best for you.
The Lower (Power) Rep Range
First you have the lower rep range. This consists of work between the 3-6 reps or so. Sometimes you might go lower – attempting a one rep max, but this won’t be done every single workout session. Usually the lowest you want to take your reps for an effective workout is 3 reps per set.
This rep range is for those who are purely looking to build power and strength. At this rep range, you’ll be able to lift a very heavy weight, thus fully taxing your overall strength and development.
This rep range is great for power lifters or for anyone who wants to get really strong in a hurry. Usually it’s used on primary compound lifts such as squats, deadlifts, bent press, and rows.
The Medium (Muscle Building) Rep Range
Next you have the medium rep range, which is going to help with muscle building. It’s also a good rep range to use for fat loss as it gets the reps high enough that you create a good metabolic demand on the body but not so high that you have to start lightening the weight too much.
Remember, one of the key things that ensures you don’t lose muscle mass while dieting is maintaining a heavy weight on the bar. Take your reps too high and you are just encouraging this unwanted side effect.
The medium rep range consists of reps between the 7-12 rep range and can be done for both compound and isolation exercises.
The High (Endurance Focused) Rep Range
Finally you have the high rep range, which consists of reps between the 13-15, sometimes up to 20 range. This is the rep range you can use if you are looking to really get your muscles burning and finish them off at the end of the session.
You will not be lifting a heavy weight when doing reps this high, so the primary benefits you will reap will be more focused on cardiovascular fitness improvements over pure strength gains.
It is a good rep range however to develop a strong muscle pump however if that is something that’s important to you.So there you have the three different rep ranges to know about. In an ideal scenario, you would work through all three rep ranges over time, either in the course of one workout or spread out over a number of workouts or weeks. Periodization (utilizing different training principles at different times) keeps your body guessing and seeing great results. Use this to your advantage.