Trying to build muscle is and always has been one of the main goals a man has when he thinks about his physique. The fitness industry today is a multi Billion industry, so it is no wonder why there is an endless sea of information.
The problem with the endless stream of information is everyone’s opinions differ, and if you are looking at more than one source of information I can guarantee there will be some small disagreement between them as to what is he best way to build muscle.
There is one clear way to build muscle, naturally, without performance enhancing drugs. Progressive Overload combined with a caloric surplus.
After years of reading enough about personal fitness to make your head spin there seems to still be two main ideas when it comes to lifting weights:
8-10 reps will increase muscle size
12-15 reps will increase muscle definition
Both of these ideas are exactly that, ideas. They do not work, and the idea of changing rep range to increase definition in your muscles is absolute not true.
The only way to make a muscle bigger is to continually increase the strength of a muscle, and that is done only through lifting heavier and heavier weights.
You would never see Jay Cutler with little pink dumbbells trying to increase his definition.
When we transfer the idea of lifting heavier each time to an exercise such as a squat or bench press, we want to do one thing and one thing only, Add weight to the bar every single time we enter the gym.
If you are a beginner you are going to be able to up your weight on these types of exercises by about 5-10lbs. every time you get to the gym, but that type of progression is not going to continue.
You will get to a point where you will only be able to add 1/2 lb. to the bar each time you do an exercise.
This may not seem like a lot, but if we take the bench press as an example, adding 1/2lbs. to each side of the bar twice a week for a year you will have added a total of 104 lbs by the end of the year.
Imagine what you will look like after you add 104 lbs to your bench press.
As I mentioned before the muscle mags and typical bodybuilding splits will have you believing that in order to grow into a hyper-muscled freak you need to spend hours in the gym each day, doing endless sets of every possible exercise for each body part, depending on what body part you are supposed to be working that day.
I am here to tell you that is not the best way to build athletic good looking muscle. This approach will exhaust you, create such a huge calorie deficit that you will never be able to eat you way out of, and stunt your recovery to the point that growth is impossible.
If you want to build a great looking physique you will only need 4-5 lifts in squats, incline bench press, chin-ups, and overhead press.
With only these four lifts you will be able to build a very strong, athletic, muscular body.
This is where everyone’s ideas seem to diverge.
Theoretically, can you build muscle and get stronger if you only do sets of one rep? Absolutely, as long as you are improving each time you are in the gym you will have no problem building muscle.
In fact there was a study done and published in the Journal of Exercise Science and Fitness that the author “proved” that rep ranges do not matter.
In my experience majority of people will most easily add muscle with rep ranges between 5-8 reps.
Now, if you are not one to be in the gym lifting heavy weights all the time, I understand, we all have different goals and different paths to get there. However, progressive overload is still going to apply to you and everything you do fitness related.
All it boils down to is doing whatever you are doing better each and every week. Lift faster, with more weight, more times and you will easily see results.