Question of the Week: Rep Ranges

Rep ranges_teaser

The science behind fitness and health is wild, crazy and ever changing. One minute a study supports a particular claim, then next it’s the worst thing you could humanly do to or for yourself. Sometimes you’ll even find the same questions looming around the industry with mixed reviews, perspectives and findings. In efforts to calm the maddess, each week here at we’ll scour the Internet, tap into forums and ask our friends on Facebook and Twitter about what question in fitness we can get some firm answers to.

This week, we take a look at rep varieties.

Q: What’s the difference between high, low, and medium rep ranges?

A: Most gym-goers, when strength training, usually do 10 reps of anything out of default. While this is a pretty safe rep range, there are ways to vary one’s training and specify the reps and weights according to their specific goals. The first step is to figure out what the user’s 1 rep max is for each particular lift. Once that is figured out, one can tweak the weight and rep range in order to fit their specific goals. If you are trying to develop power (a combination of speed and strength), the recommended rep range is 2-4 explosive reps for 2-4 sets at 90% of the 1 rep max. For pure strength, 5-8 reps for 2-6 sets at 80% of the 1 rep max is recommended. Bodybuilders (hypertrophy) usually conduct exercises for 6-12 reps for 3-6 sets at 70% of the 1 rep max.

Again, planning out rep ranges is an advantage because it forces one to take an in-depth look at what they are trying to work towards in the gym. Planned variations in an individual’s workout program will force the body to adapt and therefore improve at a more rapid pace.

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