If you’re into lifting weights, you’ve probably heard of a few different types of rep ranges: 5 x 5, 12 – 10 – 8, and 3 x 12. All of these rep ranges do something different for your muscles. See which range will help you reach your goals faster.
Low Rep Training
Generally, a low rep range set means anything with 1 – 5 reps. This range of lifting is often reserved for powerlifting or Olympic lifting, but it has a place in your training, too! Lifting at a lower rep range activates your neural (strength) gains. Lifting at lower repetitions also allows you to lift heavier weights, which actually coaxes your body into unfamiliar territory. How? It activates more muscle fibers and prompts your central nervous system to lift the weight. This range is great for building strength.
A good place to start with low rep training is to find a weight between 70 – 80% of your one rep max (the heaviest weight you can lift) and complete 5 sets of 3 repetitions, with 3 – 5 minutes of rest time between each set.
High Rep Training
If you’re chasing muscle gains (hypertrophy), then high rep training is the way to go. With a rep range around 8 – 12 repetitions, this type of training is used to build bigger and more toned muscles. Hypertrophic training is most often performed using a tempo, essentially slowing down movement to increase your muscle’s time under tension, which is necessary for hypertrophy.
A good example of a high rep set might look similar to doing 4 sets of 8 – 12 repetitions, all with a tempo of 3 seconds down and 1 second up, also with 1 – 1.5 minutes rest time between sets.
Finding A Balance
It’s important to note that both types of training will help improve your physique and physical well-being. For maximum results, it’s best to switch up your training regimen to ensure your body doesn’t adapt to one type of workout. Although doing high rep workouts might give you the physique you’re looking for, you may be headed for a plateau if you don’t take the time to increase your strength gains, too.