Varying Sets For Better Results

For many people, they tend to find a rep range they like and stick with it.

Some are consistently working in the 4-8 rep range, pressing as much weight as they possibly can.

Others prefer to work in the higher rep range of 8-12 reps, preferring to utilize more time under tension during their lifts (the total amount of time the muscle is exposed to the weight).

Still others, take their rep ranges even higher - into the 12-16 rep range, which I'm not quite sure why as there really are not very many advantages to doing so.

Getting back on track though, one thing many people never consider is varying the rep range throughout one single exercise.

For example, if you're doing the bench press, consider doing your first two sets in the lower rep range where you're really going to focus in on maximal strength development.

The more common approach is to start with higher rep ranges and work your way down as you go, however I feel it's a better idea to do the opposite.

Consider the fact that your primary aim when doing these low-rep sets is maximum force production - you want to push that weight and push it hard.

If you're already fatigued by the point you want to lift heavy from the sets you completed in the higher rep range, really, how well do you think you're going to do?

Not very well.

When you're looking to maximize strength, you need to be at your freshest.

Therefore, place these sets first.

After two sets or so, then you should progress to the higher set rep range, which will target muscle hypertrophy.

This is largely due to the increase in muscular byproduct build-up that's seen - which is already going to be slightly accumulating from the earlier sets you just completed.

So, give this rep scheme a try.

First two sets - lift hard and heavy. Keep those reps under 6 total.

Next two sets, lift lighter but aim for more reps - this will really help get that 'muscle pump' going. Shoot for between 8 and 12 reps total.

If you do this, you'll be getting the best of both worlds with your training.