If you read a mainstream bodybuilding magazine, you will see that nearly every program recommends training in a moderate rep range around 6-12 or 8-15 reps for muscle hypertrophy.
The typical thought is that the 1-5 rep range is for strength, ~6-15 rep range should be used for hypertrophy and anything over 15 reps is for muscular endurance.
Is it that simple? Is a moderate rep range of around 6-15 reps superior to all other rep ranges?
The purpose of this article is to review the scientific literature on rep ranges and hypertrophy. This will be done by comparing the traditional hypertrophy rep range to rep ranges both lower and higher in order to determine if there is an optimal rep range for muscle growth.
Can low rep training result in muscle hypertrophy similar to moderate reps?
A simple way to answer this question would be to perform a study where one group of participants does low reps while the other trains with moderate reps in what is typically thought of as the hypertrophy rep range.
Schoenfeld et al.  did just that. They recruited resistance trained men and had them do a full body workout 3 times weekly for 8 weeks. Half of the men trained in the 2-4 rep range while the other half trained in the 8-12 rep range. After 8 weeks, the group that trained in 8-12 rep range had a greater increase in hypertrophy while the 2-4 rep range group had a greater increase in strength.
Since this study clearly supports what mainstream resources say, is the case closed on this debate?
Please sign in to continue reading…