What Rep Range Builds the Most Muscle?

What Rep Range Builds the Most Muscle?

Visit any bodybuilding forum and you won’t have to look very far to find some guys arguing over how many reps you should be performing in order to get maximum gains.

Whether it’s low rep, medium or high reps, each group has legions of devoted followers ready to defend their side to the death.

At the end of the day, none of these discussions really end up coming to any conclusion.  

Today we’ve put together the pros and cons of each training style and given our opinion on which one is the most effective for building mass.

No need to read through endless internet debates anymore!

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Low Rep Training

If you want to get big you have to lift heavy – or at least that’s what the low-rep training supporters love to say.

These guys take a training approach that looks more like a powerlifting routine which means heavy weight and low reps.

Look for the guy constantly training 1RM on every exercise – he’s the low-rep supporter.

One thing you will definitely build if you train this way is strength.

Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing after all if you’ve looked the typical powerlifter those guys tend to have a lot of muscle on their frames.

However, the issue with low-rep training is that it leads to less time under tension which is important when you are looking to build muscle mass.

At the end of the day you need to ask yourself if your goal is to build mass or to build strength and go from there.

Being able to lift a ton of weight might feel good and impress other guys at the gym but we think most of you guys would rather have less strength but a more impressive physique.

High Rep Training

If you aren’t used to training 15+ reps you can get tired out pretty quickly.

All of a sudden light weights start to feel like boulders!

While this might be an effective way to fatigue the muscles there is one major problem with high-rep training.

The weights you use are lower which usually means you aren’t able to recruit type-2 muscle fibers.

This is where the real muscle growth potential is – and you need at least 75% of your 1RM to activate them.

So, simply put by training this way you are missing out on one of the most crucial muscle-building elements.

Having said that, training high reps is a great way to improve the endurance of your muscles.

This why many athletes tend to train with higher reps as it helps them with their specific sports.

However, if your goal is just to get huge then you would be better off avoiding this training style and instead opting for something more growth-friendly.

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Moderate Reps

By moderate reps we are referring to the 8-12 range. Remember that with low-rep training the issue was with time under tension.

For high-rep training the issue was with the weight not being heavy enough to stimulate growth.

The ideal time under tension is two seconds on the way down and one second on the way up.

Over the course of an entire moderate-rep set this would put you at around 45 seconds which is ideal.

This leads to the highest testosterone release, which is absolutely crucial for building mass.

It also means more muscle damage which means your body will be able to rebuild the tissue so your muscles come back bigger and stronger than before.

When you train moderate reps with a heavy but manageable weight you will get the coveted muscle pump.

That tight feeling like your skin is going to rip. In addition to making you look and feel cool, the pump also leads to protein synthesis. That means more of the foods you eat go towards building new muscle.


Training in the moderate rep-range is the clear winner when it comes to building muscle mass.

It boosts the hormone response in your body which means you will produce a ton more testosterone.

It also allows you to keep your muscles under tension long enough for optimal growth. Finally, it allows you to use a weight that activates fast-twitch muscle fibers.

However, just because moderate rep training is the most effective for building mass doesn’t mean you should ignore low and high rep training.

Low rep training is effective for building strength which can help you with progressive overload.

If you are struggling increasing your weight in the moderate rep-range sometimes it can be beneficial to perform fewer reps at a higher weight.

High rep training can help exhaust muscles, particularly when it comes to isolation exercises.

Supersets, dropsets and 21s are all examples of effective high-rep training styles that work well in most bodybuilders routines.

So now that the debate has finally been settled hopefully all the online muscle forums can go back to discussing important things like heavenly-blessed beauties and hooking up with girls on tinder.

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