Best Set and Rep Scheme For Building Muscle

Best Set and Rep Scheme For Building Muscle

In yesterday’s post you discovered the best set and rep schemes to use on the big barbell lifts. Today, I want to talk to you about the best set and rep schemes to use on your supplemental lifts.

While low reps (3-5) works great for the big barbell lifts, I’ve found the body responses better to slightly higher volume for supplemental lifts.   When it comes to lifts other the “core 4” barbell lifts, most training should be done in the 6-8 rep range. Over the years, I’ve found this to be the most effective rep range to build both size and strength.

Doing 6-8 rep sets is far superior than doing higher rep sets for many of the same reasons we talked about yesterday

If you want to get bigger and stronger, you need to overload your muscles. Let’s compare doing 4 X 6 with 100lbs on the DB bench press compared to 4 X 10 with 60lbs. If you compare the total poundage between these 2 examples it’s the same – they both equal 2,400 lbs.

BUT I guarantee you the guy lifts 4 X 6 with 100 lbs will be bigger and stronger then the dude pumping out 60’s because of the principle of overload.  In order to lift those 100 lbs, your body needs to produce more force compared to lifting 60 lbs. The heavier weight places a greater stress on the body and thus induce increases in muscle size and strength.

How many sets should you do for supplemental lifts?

Now that you know that you should use 6-8 reps on most of your supplemental lifts, let’s talk about how many sets you should do. In most cases, 3-5 sets of each supplemental lifts is a good starting point.

Here is a simple 4 week progression:

Week 1 – 3 X 6

Week 2 – 3 X 8

Week 3 – 4 X 6

Week 4 – 4 X 8

In this progression above, you will see that during the first 2 weeks, we are slowly increasing volume. The goal here is to use the same weight, or heavier, but increase the volume slightly so we can increase work capacity  and strength and as a side effect induce muscle growth.

During weeks 3 and 4 we are adding an extra set in and dropping the reps so you can overload the muscles even more. This simple progression above is a great way to slowly add volume and intensity into your program without overdoing it.

So now you are probably asking yourself “when can I use high reps”? You will have to stay tuned till tomorrow to find out…

I want to hear your opinion. Drop a comment below and let me know if this article was useful.

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