Reps and weight for hardcore growth

What's the optimal number of reps and weight for maximum muscle growth – a question that's been doing the rounds for decades! Is it strength and the amount of weight lifted – or is it reps, muscle tension and fatigue? Here's one take on the argument that will help you zone-in on the right reps and weight for hardcore growth...


Scientific studies with weight trainers have hinted that muscle can be built using different training styles – for example, high reps using light weights, or a classic 4 sets x 8-12 reps in the 'hypertrophy rep zone'. In addition, we know that advanced strategies such as 10 reps x 10 sets with around 60% 1 Rep Max (German Volume Training) can be extremely effective – and so the list goes on! However, many hardcore muscle models and body builders agree that it's neither raw strength or high reps that build maximum muscle – instead, it is the combination of the two – “high reps with heavy loads”!

What does this really mean in the real world?

1. Increase your maximal strength (i.e. 1-5 rep max).
2. Transfer that strength in the established hypertrophy zones (typically 8-12 for upper body and 8-20 for the lower body).
3. Increase your resistance to fatigue in higher rep zones.


The best strategy to increase the weights you can use in the hypertrophy zones is to cycle between strength-focused training and muscle-growth geared phases. Supplementing with a pre-workout containing arginine such as X-PLODE HARDCORE™ will help clear ammonia, supporting multiple high rep sets. Stack it with CREATINE MONOHYDRATE to increase resistance to fatigue, or take OMNI MX® HARDCORE which contains an advanced creatine blend.

For example, let's say you perform 6 weeks of strength training using reps between 3 and 6 for multiple sets (a well established rep range for increasing muscle strength). So your chest training might look something like:

Bench press 5 sets x 6, 6, 5, 5, 3 reps (rest 3 minutes between sets)
Weighted dips 4 sets x 6, 6, 5, 3

After 6 weeks – switch to a 10 x 10 workout, or a traditional workout using 8-12 reps for multiple sets and exercises. Your chest workout might now look something like:

Bench press 4 sets x 8-12 reps
Dips 3 sets x 8-12 reps
Dumbbell flyes 3 sets x 8-12 reps
Press-ups 100 reps in 5 minutes

It's key to note that cycling between strength training and hypertrophy-specific workout cycles is likely to elicit significantly greater physique gains.

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