If you were to ask a million bodybuilders / weight trainers, or read thousands of “muscle building” articles, or picked up almost every book ever written on the quickest way for natural trainers to gain weight fast (quality weight, of course), 99% of them will tell you that lower repetitions during sets, 10 reps or less, will build more muscle mass than any weight training program that requires you to use higher reps.
This philosophy has been around for decades, and , has lead to the undeniable truth that lower reps are not the best way to build muscle without the use of anabolic steroids. If it were, then why don’t we see millions more of “muscle heads” walking around in every day life? There are millions and millions of individuals that are very dedicated to their workouts, yet most have nothing to really show for it. Sure, they may be getting stronger, but they aren’t getting bigger in size…..and there’s a huge difference between the two.
Unlike what most think and say, the two are not one and the same.
Case in point: According to The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, in a study titled “Muscular adaptations to combinations of high and low intensity resistance exercises”, Japanese scientists had trainers separate into two different weight lifting groups:
1) A strength training group
2) A mixed-training group
They had both of them follow your typical workout routine:
*5 sets per exercise / 3-5 reps per set / 3 minutes rest between sets
The change came in the mixed group. Once they were done, they then went on ahead and did 1 set of 25-30 reps 30 seconds immediately after they were done with the last set. The results were interesting, to say the least.
As reported, not only did the mixed group continue to make in muscle mass while the strength training group had a slight loss in muscle mass. In addition, the mixed training group gained about 5% greater 1-rep max strength than the other group.
Now, not that you should place all of your weight training philosophy faith on one study. But this just adds to all of the real world proof that clearly demonstrates that if you are after pure muscle building or weight gain…..not necessarily pure power or strength, you have to up the amount of reps you perform per set. Higher reps provide a ton of muscle building factors that lower reps don’t, such as longer time under tension, lactic acid build up, greater blood pumps, so on and so forth.
Keep all of this in mind the next time you are tempted into only worrying about how much you are lifting instead of for how many times.