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How many reps to build muscle? Well, on an individual set for set basis you can probably stimulate hypertrophy to the same (or at least to a very similar) degree using almost any rep range as long as you’re training close to failure.
But you have to consider how that plays out across an entire workout.
If you’re training primarily in high rep ranges then you’ll be generating a lot of overall systemic fatigue which will then make it more difficult to train close to legitimate muscular failure.
It’ll really feel like you’re “getting a good workout” since you’ll have a bigger pump, experience a higher amount of muscle burn, be sweating more, and feel sorer in the days afterwards, but none of those things are what primarily drive muscle growth.
The main driver of growth, again, is taking the targeted muscle close (or all the way) to its true failure point, and so you want to minimize things that interfere with your ability to do that.
If you’re in the middle of a set and your heart rate is way up, your lungs are burning, you feel nauseated, sweat is dripping all over your face and you feel mentally exhausted, then you’re much more likely to stop the set because of those factors even if the targeted muscle still has plenty of strength remaining.
I usually put the “sweet spot” range at about 5-10 reps per set, as it’s not too low (going super heavy with nothing but very low reps is not ideal either) and also not too high to where you run the risk of excessive fatigue.
11-12 reps is fine too, and it partly depends on your rep cadence, not to mention there is some individual variability too.
This of course doesn’t mean that you can’t perform reps outside that range – I’m just recommending that as a good general zone to base the bulk of your work.
And yes, there are going to be outliers who get great results doing nothing but very high reps – maybe you’re even one of them. What I’m giving here is a general guideline for the majority.
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