What are the ideal reps and sets for muscle mass?A very common question among guys trying to build their body. The answer is not cut and dried. It all depends.
Reps and Sets Definition
A set is the number of repetitive movements you do for an exercise before stopping. A rep is one movement of the exercise. If you do 1 bicep curl, that is one rep. If you do 8 reps before screaming in agony and take a break That is one set. So, you just did one set of bicep curls with 8 reps.
What many guys fail to realize is that building your body is a very personal journey. No two people are alike. While there are some ground rules to gaining mass, you will need to experiment with what works for you.
This will take time and experience. The hard truth is that some guys are more genetically gifted than others. Some will just need to do 3 sets to see their muscles grow like weeds. While others will have to slog away doing 6 to 9 sets. That’s just the way it is. You will have to do what you need to do.
There is no one size fits all approach. Generally speaking, the number of reps you do should range from 6 to 12. If you’re doing 27 reps to failure per set, then you have no idea what you are doing. For muscle building, 6 to 12 reps are typical.
This is the rep range recommended in different workout programs and what it has been shown to increase muscle size, the highly coveted “ hypertrophia .”The 6 rep range would go on the lower scale for developing more strength but you still might get some muscle size but if you really want to get big the rule of thumb should be 8 to 12.
The number of sets you do can range from about 3 to 9. It’s not recommended to do too many sets. This range is suitable for most people. If you develop muscle easily, do 3 sets per body part. If you are a hard gainer, do more sets. Volume of work is better for you but you have to be cautious.
Do not get carried away, aim for no more that one hour at the gym, better yet completing your routine within a period of 45 to 50 minutes would be perfect.Hard gainers also need more rest periods between workout sessions at least 72 hours for each muscle group.
As mentioned earlier, Keep in mind that every individual is different, but most hard gainers or endomorphs seem to respond more to hitting a muscle part once a week unlike mesomorphs who can lift weights around the gym every waking hour and still get big.
It will take you one or two days to figure out the ideal weight to use for you to reach the number of sets you desire. If you go with a weight that is too heavy, and you’re aiming for 4 sets, your body may just give up on you by the third set. If you use a weight that is too light, you could probably do 56 sets and still feel no difference. So, aim for the best weight to use.
The method you use is also important. Some people train to failure with every set. Others do not train to failure and just do it once in a while. Neither way is better than the other. If you can gain muscle easily, then aiming for failure each time will give you the fastest gains.
Training to failure means that you do reps until you can’t do another despite how hard you struggle for that set. Usually, you will be aiming for 6 to 8 reps with this method.
If you’re training for volume, you can’t do this because your body will be exhausted. You will need to use lighter weights so that you can reach the 8 to 12 set range. When you do this, your muscles will be doing more work, and that will stimulate growth for the guys who find it hard to pack on muscle.
At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong answer. You must try it out for yourself and see what works for you. Once you discover how your body works and what it responds to, you will make gains and see muscles much faster. It doesn’t get better than that.