After reading several sources about rep range recommendations, I know that:

  • Low reps of heavy weight build strength
  • Moderate reps of less heavy weight builds muscle
  • High reps of low weight builds muscle endurance

This is all given a proper cadence to produce the needed amount of time under tension.

After moving past the explanations of rep ranges, these articles will generally go on to prescribe sample workouts that either stick to a particular goal (building strength vs. muscle vs. endurance) or explains how to mix them together. This is where my question starts.

I'm looking for an ideal cycling period for switching between the 3 major rep ranges. I personally work out 6 days a week, so I've come up with 3 options:

  1. Daily - Within a single workout start with heavy lifting around 3-5 reps, then follow up with 6-10 for hypertrophy, then finish with 15+ for endurance
  2. Weekly - Day 1 do low reps, Day 2 do moderate, Day 3 do high reps, repeat
  3. Concentrate on strength building for a month or more, then muscle building, and finally endurance

For the last one, I've seen it suggested that each week you reduce weight and increase reps to progress into the muscle building phase, and the same for endurance, so I guess that could kind of be a 4th option.

I'm looking for information on the pros/cons of these different cycles. I found a lot of info on the different rep ranges, but not on how often to do each. Though, I think I just don't know proper terms to find what I'm looking for.

I feel like this answer will be based on the workout program in question. I am doing a Push/Pull split that looks something like this:

Day 1/3/5:

Hamstrings Glutes Mid Back/Rear Delt Lats Biceps

Day 2/4/6:

Quads Calves Chest Mid/Front Delt Triceps

So, each major muscle group gets 1 exercise worth of attention 3 days a week (not accounting for compounds).

1 Answer 1


The “Hypertrophy Range” – Fact or Fiction?

Muscular adaptations in low- versus high-load resistance training: A meta-analysis.

Effects of different volume-equated resistance training loading strategies on muscular adaptations in well-trained men.

Resistance exercise load does not determine training-mediated hypertrophic gains in young men

Skeletal Muscle Fatigability and Myosin Heavy Chain Fiber Type in Resistance Trained Men

Light-Load Training: Can It Build Muscle?

The linked sources prove that repetition ranges don't matter at all, any repetition range builds muscle, endurance and strength if volume is equated.

If you lift 100 lbs/45kg for 10 times you develop similar adaptations as if you lifted 1000lbs/450kg once, the difference is less than 1% or 3%. So your premise that high loads are for strength, moderate loads for muscle and light for endurance is basically an old myth spread in the era of bro-science. Therefore no real answer can be given as your entire question is based on mythology.

And you might ask, if high repetitions build muscle, why aren't marathon runners jacked and incredibly shredded? well, because they do a sport where efficiency is critical and the best way to be an efficient runner is to not force too much your muscles but instead rely on the elastic force produced by the tendons, mainly the Achilles tendon. So marathon runners are not muscular because they are not really using the muscles in the first place but are mostly driven forward by efficient ligaments through years of adaptation, a kind of tendon hypertrophy, and even if they were using their muscles in the first place they are limited not by muscle fatigue but by cardiovascular fatigue.

  • 1
    That first and second article supports the "strength" range and the "endurance" range. The 3rd article validates the "strength" range: "powerlifting-type training is superior for enhancing maximal strength." So, I don't know where you see that "repetition ranges don't matter at all".
    – Troncoso
    Nov 27, 2018 at 13:35
  • To clarify, what I've always understood is that rep range matters less than overall time under tension. So doing a set of 5 over 20 seconds is much different than a set of 5 over 40 seconds. Rep count + cadence count is just a means of regulating that time.
    – Troncoso
    Nov 27, 2018 at 13:37

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