How many sets and reps do mass building

How many sets and reps do mass building

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What are the differences in the effect on muscle growth of training with a small, medium and high number of repetitions. What to choose the best.

Many athletes do not even think about what should be the number of approaches during training. As a rule, the usual program is taken as the basis, which is regularly performed by the athlete. But the problem is that the number of repetitions per mass, or, for example, the development of strength, may differ. When drawing up a training program, this moment must be taken into account.

Dependence of approaches, repetitions and result

Consider three possible options:

  1. Muscle gain workout with a minimum number of repetitions (up to five). Many argue that this type of exercise promotes the growth of fast muscles, and approaches with a large number of repetitions, on the contrary, develop slow groups. But this is not so. If you make sets with a minimum number of repetitions, then the load is all groups, both fast and slow. In addition, the intermediate muscles also receive their “portion”. Our body is perfectly thought out. First, slow groups are connected to the work, after – medium ones. If the first and second do not cope with the load, then fast muscles come to the rescue. Performing sets with a small number of repetitions, you use the maximum muscle volume. As a result, the level of strength rises, the process of muscle growth accelerates. The ideal combination of heavy weight when performing approaches with a minimum number of repetitions.
  2. Classes with an average number of repetitions. In this case, 8-12 repetitions are included in one set. Scientists have been able to prove that the average number of repetitions best promotes muscle growth. This can be explained by connecting all groups against the background of weight gain and a longer exercise. The average number of repetitions causes sarcoplasmic hypertrophy – an increase in the volume of sarcoplasm and amino acids in muscle cells. Unlike the previous version, this method contributes exclusively to mass gain without significant influence on the force. As practice shows, 8-12 reps in the set is a great option for high-quality pumping of muscle groups. At the same time, experiments showed that in such studies, connective tissues begin to grow actively, which contributes to an increase in protein volumes and the formation of the desired relief.
  3. High reps. In this case, the number of approaches for one exercise is 3-5 with the number of repetitions of 15 or more. Today there is a lot of discussion about this training method. There is even an opinion that such a number of repetitions is unreasonable and not necessary. But there is one point that many forget about – the features of glycogen, its effect on the body and protein production.
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Glycogen, in essence, is the carbohydrates that accumulate in the muscles of our body. A feature of glycogen is the possibility of its dissolution with water, which allows muscles to grow in volume. The average ratio of glycogen to water is 1 to 2.7.

training options

Studies show that a large number of repetitions and approaches “flushes” glycogen from the body. Bottom line – cells get a push to stretch. This, in turn, contributes to the growth of muscle mass and the release of growth hormones. In addition, a large number of approaches contributes to the retention of blood plasma in the muscles, which further stimulates the growth of muscle fibers.

Relationship with bodybuilding experience

Do not forget that the number of approaches and repetitions largely depends on the athlete’s experience in sports. Here you can highlight several options:

  1. Beginners. For beginners, the characteristics of the training process should be as follows:
    • number of repetitions. Studies have shown that for beginners, the best option is the minimum weight and the maximum number of repetitions. On average, for one set you need to do about 12-16 repetitions. Thanks to this type of training organization, you can strengthen the nervous system and develop strength;
    • total training volume. To give the maximum load on a particular part of the body, it is necessary to do several approaches (usually 3-4). It is important to note that to achieve the maximum effect, it is worth including one basic exercise (for each of the groups). For example, the bench press will do the role of the “base” perfectly, work with dumbbells for triceps, work with a bar with a narrow grip and so on. Muscle groups can be pumped simultaneously or divided into several groups. For example, on the first day, you can pay attention to the triceps, pectoral muscles and hips, and on the second – the biceps, back and shoulders;
    • frequency of classes – no more than 3 times a day. If you divide one lesson into two splits, then the number of workouts doubles. By organizing high-frequency training, you can harden the nervous system and adapt it to exercise.
  2. Experienced athletes. Consider the main modes:
    • number of repetitions. More advanced athletes who have been practicing for a year or more will get the greatest effect from working with maximum weights. In this case, the number of repetitions should be minimal (up to eight). It is better to gradually increase the development of muscles and not let them get used to the loads. In this case, re-training should be carried out with great weight;
    • number of approaches. For more experienced athletes, a scheme is suitable when 5-6 approaches are needed for each part of the body. Moreover, the program should include not only a “base”, but also auxiliary exercises. For example, for the dorsal muscles, the “base” is the pull of the dumbbell with one hand to the lumbar region, for the thoracic region is the dumbbell or barbell press, for the legs is the rolling of the “cart” or squats, and so on. As for additional exercises, here one can single out leg extension on the simulator, flattening of the arms (crossover), “butterfly” and so on;
    • number of classes. One muscle group should account for up to two exercises per week. With this approach, the central nervous system is already getting used to the loads, and muscle growth occurs due to adaptation of the musculature itself. It is important to consider that overloading a large number of approaches wear out the body, which requires a lot of time for recovery processes. During rest, the muscles grow actively, become stronger.
training experience


It is important to understand that the human body is unique, so the above secrets will not necessarily work in your case. It is necessary to apply various options and observe the result. If it is positive, then take the equipment to “weapons” and work with it.

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There are several more points to consider in your practice:

  • try to forget about existing laws and standards. First, record the result, and after that – the numbers;
  • Add different repetition ranges to your classes. For example, in one day you can do 6 repetitions, in another – 10, and on the third – 15;
  • note that for work on the mass the number of approaches is 3-4, for the formation of the relief – 2-3, for the strength – 4-6.