By Oliver Wolter
If you are working out like most people, you are using a rep scheme of 6-12 repetitions for muscle mass.
You could read it anywhere and this seems to be one of the iron rules in bodybuilding yet following this rule will hold you back from serious gains!
Almost nobody can tell you why you should perform this rep scheme for muscle mass.
Some people will tell you that 6 reps is 80% of your one rep maximum - the range where most muscle fibers get involved.
But can you really perform 6 reps with 80% of your one rep max?
I can't tell you, but what I can tell you is that you are probably wasting a lot of your gains by blindly following this rule.
Don't get me wrong, I believed that performing 6-12 reps was an iron rule for achieving maximum muscle gains, too. This all changed when I started to test the one rep maximum on all my training clients. What came out is that a few of my clients could do more than 20 reps with 80% of their one rep maximum, while others could only do 3 reps with 80% of their one rep maximum.
After using the individual scheme of between 3 and more than 20 reps for muscle gains, almost all of my clients made better gains.
Some even doubled their progress rate instantly after changing the rep scheme for muscle gains.
So please test your one rep maximum and load 80% on your one rep maximum on the bar and test how many reps you could do.
To get a little bit more advanced I would advise you to track the time while performing your reps.
I use this technique with good success in my personal training software X-Size for one good reason: Nobody uses the same speed for their repetitions any time.
There is also another trick hidden in it and by this you can determine if Creatine is going to be useful for you (I'll tell you that below).
Now I want to leave the theoretical part behind and give you a practical example.
Test your one rep maximum on two different body parts.
First test your one rep maximum for barbell bicep curls and write it down. If you didn't choose the right weight at the first time (almost nobody could do this) take 3 minutes off - before you try it a second or third time. (for example your TESTED one rep maximum for barbell curls is 100lbs)
Second, test your one rep maximum for leg extensions. (for example your TESTED one rep maximum for barbell curls is 200lbs)
After you do this - rest for 10 minutes. In this time calculate 80% of your one rep maximum for barbell curls (100 * 0,8 = 80 lbs) and the leg extensions (200 * 0,8 = 160)
Now that you know your real one rep maximum for both exercises, after the 10 minutes rest, load 80lbs on the barbell for testing your repetitions on the curl.
For example, let's say you are able to perform 9 repetitions for barbell curls with 80 lbs. So 9 repetitions is your optimum rep scheme for barbell curls.
After another 10 minutes of rest you could make the same test with the leg extensions.
For example you could do 15 leg extensions with 160 lbs. So this means you should always aim for 15 repetitions for leg extensions because this gives you the best muscle gains.
Did you take your time for the reps?
If so I can tell you the following:
If your time for each of both exercises was below 60 seconds, Creatine could be quite useful for you.
If your time was below 40 seconds for both exercises and you haven't Creatine - what are you waiting for? It will definitely give you a good boost in muscle mass.
One final advice I would like to give you. You should do this test for any exercise you are performing. Probably you have seen that you get different results for different body parts...you will also get different results for different exercises for the same body part.
This is because every exercise involves slightly different muscle fibers. So probably your optimum rep scheme for barbell curls is 9 reps, but for preacher bench curls it could be 6 reps.
This may sound over the edge for you, but think twice! I use this technique in my X-Size software along with other techniques to boost muscle gains for good reason.
This technique alone could give you "only" 20% more muscle gains and it could also double your progress rate. This adds up over the time to big gains. And if you add some more of these tricks in your training schedule you could double or even triple your progress rate instantly.
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