What is the best number of reps to build muscle mass? This is a question that the so-called experts can’t come to an agreement on. Some say 5, some say 15. I have even heard some people saying push 2-3 with CRAZY weights, and a few who say try reaching 50. With so many answers out there how on Earth do you find the right one?
Well, what I’m about to tell you comes from years of weight training experience, seeing the results others have achieved with various routines, and from the science of muscles itself. I was a skinny guy too. It wasn’t too long ago, and I just hated being the smallest guy in the photos. Smaller than my friends, my cousins, and I wished I had a bigger body. People say you’re beautiful just the way you are, but those people don’t know what it is like being in our shoes.
So I’m going to tell you something that helped me waste a lot less time in the gym. I’m going to tell you what the best number of reps to build muscle is.
Let me start by telling you that the best number of reps to build muscle mass does not exist. What I mean by this is that there is no ONE, SINGLE rep range. Muscle itself consists of slow twitch (type I) and fast twitch (type IIa and IIb) muscle fibers.For hypertrophy of the entire muscle you need to stimulate both of these types. But to do this, you need to work in 2 different rep ranges.
You see the best number of reps to build muscle fiber type IIa and IIb is within the 6-12 range, but the best number of reps to build muscle fiber type I is 13-20+. Furthermore, the 3-5 rep range is great for your neural conditioning and this is important for strength and power gains.
Here’s the basic idea behind why the best number of reps to build muscle is actually ALL OF THESE. If you want to get the maximum size you want to start gaining in every possible way. Hitting the 3-5 range will make you stronger enabling you to carry heavier weights which we know is advantageous to building muscle. Hitting the 6-12 range will give you maximum growth in your fast twitch muscles and 13-20+ will get your slow twitch fibers growing too.
So how do you do all of these? I had the same question when I found this out. Because once I knew that there was no best number of reps to build muscle, I was then stuck with a whole new problem. What am I going to do to gain muscle now? I didn’t want to be skinny forever you know.
Simple. You focus on ONE OF THEM AT A TIME. For the first 6 weeks of your workout routine could consist of the best number of reps to build muscle fiber type IIa and IIb. That is 6-12 reps. You can switch from that to a 3-4 week routine of a 3-5 rep range for maximum strength gains. And add another 4 weeks or so for the upper rep range to help those slow twitch fibers grow.
While I say that to gain muscle most efficiently you must incorporate all these rep ranges into your work outs, the rep range that you will most likely notice adds the most mass to your muscle would be the 6-12. This is because the majority of your muscle volume comes from fast-twitch fibers and their growth will give the most significant gains. Looking at it like this, you might say that the best number of reps to build muscle is 6-12. But don’t forget that ignoring the rest makes you lost out on muscle growth that you could otherwise capitalize on.
The best number of reps to build muscle is a fact that is argued by experts all over. But from my experience and common sense, I think that all rep ranges provide some advantage to muscle mass gains so ignoring any of these rep ranges claiming that it is NOT the BEST number of reps to build muscle would be a mistake. That said, if we were judging based on efficiency the best number of reps to build muscle would be the 6-12 range because it will result in the highest mass gains.
PS: Its going to be hard work, but trust me just the looks on people’s faces when they see you after your transformation is WORTH ALL OF IT! I would know.