MIXING UP YOUR REPITITION RANGES WILL MAXIMIZE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY IN THE GYM
I was 14 years of age when I decided to get involved in the WORLD OF BODYBIULDING and ever since then all I’ve ever heard is……Use HIGH repetitions for GETTING RIPPED and use LOW repetitions for ADDING REAL MASS!!…..In general this rule does apply to a certain degree….but if used correctly and in a systematic and progressive arrangement you can overcome PLATEAUS and make GAINS you never thought possible.
With my clients ‘no matter the experience level’ I always see breakthroughs in there training and physique’s when I apply my VARIED REP RANGE PROTOCOLS…it all sounds very technical, but in actual fact the science is quite simple.
Ok, so I’m not going to give away all my secrets….but here’s a little of the basics for anyone interested!
USING LOW REPETITION RANGE
Low reps are usually categorized as reps in the 1-5 range. It is often said that low reps will stimulate fast twitch muscle fibers while high reps stimulate the slow twitch muscle fibers. This is yet another false fact about rep ranges. The truth is that low reps will stimulate ALL muscle fibers from slow to intermediate to fast and everything in between.
The body calls fibers into play on an as needed basis in order from slow to intermediate to fast. When a load is placed on a muscle, the slow twitch fibers will be recruited first. If the slow twitch fibers cannot generate enough force to lift the weight then the body will call the intermediate fibers into action.
If the slow and intermediate fibers cannot handle the weight or tire out then the fast twitch fibers will finally be recruited. When fibers are recruited they are never recruited half way or partially. When a fiber contracts, it will contract maximally, so this means when you lift a heavy load you will fully stimulate slow and intermediate muscle fibers.
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. This is important because progressive overload is one of the primary necessities for continued long term growth. So you can see that very heavy weight for low reps is vitally important for OPTIMAL MUSCLE GROWTH.
USING THE MEDIUM REPETITION RANGE
This rep range is typically defined as the 6-12 rep range. Moderate rep ranges have consistently been proven in study after study to lead to the greatest amount of MUSCLE INCREASE. The reason that this rep range is so effective for building muscle is because it does a little bit a everything.
This means that it provides many of the benefits of low rep training combined with the benefits high rep training by allowing for relatively heavy loads to be used while increasing time under tension. The heavy loads allow for myofibrillar protein synthesis to take place which, as discussed, will increase the size of the contractile proteins. The increased time under tension will stimulate sarcoplasmic hypertrophy (the increase of natural ATP stores allowing for more explosive muscle contractions).
So while low reps with heavy weight is best at stimulating myofibrillar hypertrophy, and high reps with light weight is best at stimulating sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, moderate reps seem to strike a balance between inducing significant amounts of both myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. The proven track record of the moderate rep range makes it so that it cannot be ignored in your WORKOUT PROGRAMME.
USING HIGH REPETITION RANGE
High reps are usually considered to be any set that contains 15 reps or more. There are many that argue, since low reps stimulate all the muscle fibers and moderate reps induce sarcoplasmic protein synthesis, that there is really no need to do high rep sets. At first this sounds like sound reasoning, but it leaves out one very important factor. This important factor is the effect of glycogen on protein synthesis.
Glycogen is essentially stored carbohydrate within muscle tissue. Glycogen is hydrophillic, it causes muscles to swell since every gram of glycogen stores 2.7 grams of water along with it. I know many of you are thinking “why would I want my muscles packed with water?” Besides the fact that this added water will increase the size of your muscles, it will also increase protein synthesis (absorption of protein into the muscle cells to allow for quicker repair and growth).
Many people do not realize that cellular hydration is an extremely strong anabolic trigger. Protein synthesis is often directly related to a muscles cells state of hydration. In response to increased cellular hydration, the cell initiates a signalling cascade that causes the muscle to grow larger to protect itself.
So what does this all have to do with high rep training? High rep training will drastically deplete glycogen stores. 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.
In addition to all of the above benefits, greater occlusion is associated with higher rep training. This prevents blood from leaving the area being trained, which can induce growth through increases in growth factor production and possibly satellite cell fusion which will aid in the bolstering of muscle cells leading to greater MUSCLE FIRMNESS.
THE END RESULT
So using a variety of reps and loads will have a synergistic effect. Rep ranges are not independent of one another. Improvements in one area will lead to improvements in other areas. This exchange is important to understand when putting the whole picture together.
All rep ranges will increase muscle growth but through different pathways. Therefore all ranges should be utilized, no matter if you are gaining or cutting.
DO NOT USE HIGH REPS TO STIMULATE FAT LOSS. ALL WEIGHT TRAINING WILL STIMULATE YOUR METABOLISM TO SPEED UP AND MAKE IT MORE EFFICIENT AT BURNING CALORIES. NO ONE REPETITION RANGE WILL CAUSE A NOTICEABLE FAT LOSS OVER ANOTHER. YOUR DIET AND CARDIO ARE THE PRIMARY TOOLS IN YOUR AID AGAINST LOSING FAT……SO LET THE WEIGHT TRAINING DO THE MUSCLE BUILDING….AND LET YOUR DIET DO THE AHNNIALATE THE FAT!!
As you can see, there are no rep ranges that are magically going to make you lose fat or get shredded more than other rep ranges. There is also no merit to the idea that high reps will not allow you to gain lean mass. If you are dieting or just trying to drop a few pounds, or trying to gain as much muscle as possible you must use every single rep range to maximize growth to your fullest potential.
BELOW IS A BASIC SAMPLE OF WHAT WAY TO APPLY THE USE OF ALL THE REPETITION RANGES IN ONE SESSION….FOR OBVIOUS REASONS I CA’T GIVE TOO MUCH AWAY!
First 1-2 Exercises – 3-4 sets with heavy loads in the 1-5 rep range with compound movements.
Next 1-2 Exercises – 3-4 sets with moderate loads in the 8-12 rep range with mostly compound movements.
Last 1-2 Exercises – 3-4 sets with light loads in the 15-30 rep range usually with an isolation movement.
SO GO FORTH AND GET SURGICAL ON YOUR WORKOUTS….EXPERIMENT TO FIND OUT TRUE GAINS!!!