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Reps And Sets

reps and setsYou want more muscle.

You want muscle growth continually over time.


Chronic hypertrophy means that you don’t just gain muscle for a few months or even a year. It means your training should be structured in such a way that you can keep gaining and gaining over the long term.

But how? Let’s look at this specifically in terms of reps and sets.

Reps & Sets

First a couple of definitions for any newcomers to the game.

  • Rep – A single cycle of lifting and lowering a weight
  • Set – A number of consecutive reps without rest

Others may do aerobics, stretching, cross training etc. Perhaps their goal is to improve endurance, flexibility, balance, or improve a specific sport skill. There are all sorts of ways to train for all manner of different goals, but we’re about training for muscle growth.

So a program designed specifically to build larger muscles must cause the specific and necessary adaptations that we’re after.

In my opinion, this involves the following training cycles:

  • Targeted Hypertrophy
  • Mixed (a mix of hypertrophy and strength adaptations)

Important: It is impossible to isolate an adaptive response here. The hypertrophy phase will cause strength gains, and the strength phase will cause size gains. However, each phase has its area of primary focus, with other adaptations following as a nice side effect.

THT is a weight training system designed specifically to ignite muscular hypertrophy.

THT has this well covered as we train in the following rep ranges.

  • Hypertrophy – 8-12 Rep Range
  • Mixed Strength & Size – 6-8 Rep Range

Why bother with the mixed phase if you only want to train for growth? You always have to get stronger to add more muscle. In other words, you need to be adding more weight to the bar over time (small increases work best).

Factoring in these mixed periods ensure that your gains are not just short-term, but ongoing i.e. chronic hypertrophy.

Switching between these phases means the bigger you get, the stronger you get, the bigger you get, the stronger you get, the bigger you get, the stronger you get, the bigger you get, the stronger you get, the bigger you get, the stronger you get…. 😉

There are of course other factors involved here like frequency of training, volume, intensity, correct mix of compound & isolation movements, optimal rest between sets, and so on. THT has got all of this covered too.

If you’re new here or just haven’t downloaded your FREE copy of THT training before, do it now! Many many thousands of people around the world will tell you it’s the best move they ever made. You WILL notice changes in the mirror in a few weeks, if not the first week. The scales, your clothes, and other people’s comments will also confirm this. Download it free below…

Train With Intensity!


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Mark McManus
Mark McManus
Mark is now available for 1-on-1 consultations to help you take your results to the next level. Click here for more details.
Mark McManus is a trainer & author from Ireland. His work has been featured in major publications all over the world. He is the creator of the free growth-promoting workout Targeted Hypertrophy Training' (THT) and author of the NEW fat-torching system Total Six Pack Abs.
He has also created the BREAKTHROUGH arm and chest maximizer programs The Arms Blast' and 'Chest Blast' workouts.
And if you're a fan of delicious high-protein recipes to fuel your muscle growth, check out his cook book 'Buff Baking' here.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Crissandy June 5, 2013, 2:33 pm

    Mark, you don’t know how thankful I am to you for your great information. I see so much passion in what you are doing in this site yet you offer them for free, hope you don’t change, YOUR site is the only site that made me fully gasp the knowledge for bodybuilding…Thank you soo much man…

  • Mark McManus June 5, 2013, 2:41 pm

    @Crissandy. And I’m thankful for your comment, bud :)

  • John A Davis June 5, 2013, 2:51 pm

    I heard an explanation that really helps understand this. I can’t remember which twitch does what, but there are fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fibers.

    Endurance (high reps) uses one of the twitches.
    Strength (low reps; big weight) uses the other twitch
    Hypertrophy (training for size) uses both

  • John June 5, 2013, 3:42 pm


    Could you give examples of each phase using weight amount examples


  • Danny June 5, 2013, 5:01 pm

    Mark, I’ve been on your THT & TSPA programs the last couple years and have never been stronger…my question here is concerning negatives, do you use them? I’ve heard there another great way of breaking down the muslce fibers and furthering the growth process.

  • Mark McManus June 5, 2013, 7:22 pm

    @John. Well endurance would be much higher reps and also more aerobic work too. That type of work recruits slow twitch fibers. Running, swimming, and so forth.
    All the rep ranges above (from 6 up to 12) are all growth-promoting. They all predominantly recruit fast twitch muscle fibers.

  • Mark McManus June 5, 2013, 7:24 pm

    @John. Not 100% sure what you mean but the lower the rep range, the more weight you can use. You can use my rep range calculator to estimate what weight to use at different rep ranges http://www.musclehack.com/tht-rep-range-calculator/

  • Mark McManus June 5, 2013, 7:29 pm

    @Danny. Very rarely and they are not necessary for stimulating growth. Negatives are an example of using more than 100% of 1 rep max (although that sounds impossible it isn’t). As such it is a “supermaximum load”. I incorporated supermaximum loads into the Arms Blast Experiment routine. Apart from rare occasions like that, I don’t use them much.

  • stickupkid June 5, 2013, 8:17 pm

    Mark would it be any better to use a Hypertrophy – 8-12 Rep Range and
    Strength 6-8 Rep Range in a single workout example
    Leg Day
    Squats 6-8 reps
    Leg press 8-10 reps
    Leg extensions 10-12

  • Mark McManus June 5, 2013, 8:51 pm

    There are many ways to go about “periodizing” your workouts in this way. Within workouts, or every other workout, or switching rep ranges every 3 weeks for example. I’m not going to say I’m rigidly against such strategies, but I recommend 10-week training cycles per rep range because of the ability to optimize the neural adaptations of a single rep range. This would lead to faster and higher weight progressions within the given rep range. For more on this read my article on muscle confusion

  • stickupkid June 5, 2013, 10:45 pm

    Thanks for link and advice Mark :)

  • jerry June 6, 2013, 2:32 am

    Hey Mark. I have been following your program for a few months now and have seen remarkable results. I am much more cut than I used to be. I do have one question, however, when it comes to dumbbell exercises. One arm is usually stronger than the other so when you max out with your weaker arm should you stop lifting with the stronger arm as well or continue until maxing out with that arm. I have been stopping both arms when the weaker gives out but I feel like I am cheating the stronger arm.

  • Mark McManus June 6, 2013, 9:47 am

    @Jerry. Go to failure on both arms. The stronger arm won’t be getting enough stimulation to grow if you stop when the weaker arm gives out.