If you want to build or maintain muscle while you lose body fat, you need to be lifting in the hypertrophic set/rep range. That's right, you need to be using a weight that allows you to complete 3 – 5 sets of 8 – 12 reps with 60 – 120 seconds rest between sets.
Moderate (10-15 reps) and higher rep training (15-30 reps) should be done as well to increase overall training volume, work performed, and help retain as much lean muscle mass you can during a diet. Total sets for higher rep training per muscle group can range from 8-15 total sets per week.
Start with one set of 8 to 12 repetitions (reps) for the first four weeks. When choosing weight, remember that the last 2 or 3 reps should be very difficult. Increase to 12 to 15 reps for the next four weeks.
In general: For fat loss: One to 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps using enough weight that you can only complete the desired reps. To gain muscle: Three or more sets of 6 to 8 reps to fatigue. For beginners, give yourself several weeks of conditioning before going to this level.
If your objective is strength or power (think: heavy lifting), the textbook advice is to perform 3 to 5 sets of 2 to 6 reps per exercise. For hypertrophy (building muscle), the sweet spot is 3 to 4 sets of 6 to 12 reps.
Basically means that you perform 4 sets of the exercise, the first set for 12 reps, the next for 10, the third for 8 and the fourth for 6.
Therefore, during a long training period, 5 sets per exercise is superior to 3 sets per exercise and 3 sets per exercise is superior to 1 set per exercise to cause increases in upper-body strength, local muscular endurance, and hypertrophy.
You will also learn why you can build muscle, increase strength, or lose fat with just about any rep range, but some rep ranges are more optimal than others for each training outcome. In summary, the ideal rep ranges for fat loss and muscle building likely occur within the 6-12 rep range.
Building muscle, or hypertrophy, requires a greater training volume than just three sets. If you have some training experience and you are looking to build muscle, you would do 3 to 6 sets of each exercise and you would aim for two exercises per body part.
The common belief is that high reps magically gets rid of fat. While high reps with light weight to fatigue can create a muscular response, it does not necessarily remove fat better than low reps with heavy weight.
For the competition lifts, aim to perform 1-3 sets of 1-3 reps during a cutting phase to ensure neural drive and strength retention.
Truth is, high-rep sets increase muscular endurance, but not necessarily fat-burning. You can actually get more ripped training in the 8-12-rep range, as this is what's been identified as the best rep count for adding muscular size. Where muscle mass increases, so does metabolism.
Despite what many novices (and even some strength coaches believe), lifting heavy is still an essential part to cutting. Lifting heavy, relatively speaking, is ideal for preserving strength and muscle mass during the cutting phase.
Generally, exercises with higher reps are used to improve muscular endurance, while higher weights with fewer reps are used to increase muscle size and strength.
5X5 vs 3X10: Which Is Better For Building Strength? Look at any legitimate strength program out there, and it'll focus on lower-rep, higher load set schemes. Because 5×5 uses heavier loads, it's superior for strength training. But don't throw away 3×10 if you are just focused on getting stronger.
Sets of anywhere from 4–40 reps will stimulate muscle growth quite well, but most research shows that doing 6–20 reps per set is the most efficient way to build muscle. Bodybuilders often use the middle of that range, favouring 8–12 reps per set.
The 5×5, also known as the “Strong Lifts 5×5,” is a simple and effective workout plan for building strength, muscle, and athleticism. Despite the apparent simplicity, the 5×5 program is designed to push you to your limits and drive incredible gains in your maximal strength and muscle mass.
The general consensus is somewhere between 8 and 32 sets per week for a given muscle group (like the chest muscles) is what is required to create gains in muscle size and strength.
Anything greater than 20 reps in a set is probably far too many. Performing this many reps in a set will have diminishing returns. If you can easily do more than 20 reps, then the weight you are using is probably too light or too easy to elicit any significant growth.
“Performing 3 sets of 12 reps for the exercises your workout is likely killing your gains. Now, don't get me wrong… I actually like the 10-12 rep range when it comes to building muscle and when the goal is muscle hypertrophy.