How to Perform Reps for Most Muscle Growth

How to Perform Reps for Most Muscle Growth

JESSE: You know, one of the best things that
Jeff’s taught me since I’ve been working for him has been, it’s not just the exercises
you choose, but it’s how you do them. [mechanical noises] JEFF: Jesse! Whoa! Whoa! JESSE: What’s up? JEFF: What are you doing? JESSE: All right. So, remember when you told
me that it’s not just doing the exercises, it’s about how you do them? Going from point
A to point B? JEFF: Yeah. JESSE: Well, dude. You were 100% right. For
example: take the robot curl. JEFF: That’s a good exercise. It works your
biceps and- JESSE: Yeah, but the problem is, if I do it
like this…I don’t feel anything. Literally, nothing. However, when I become the robot
– ready? [mechanical noises] Biceps. [mechanical noises]
Forearms. [mechanical noises] Biceps and forearms. Dude! It’s incredible! You’ve got to be
the robot to feel the robot curl. [mechanical noises] JEFF: Okay. Someone’s got to turn you off,
man. Can I take these? Thanks, man. JESSE: System failure. [power down noise]
You know, I just wish you’d try it. Without noise, with noise. Without noise, with noise. JEFF:
What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, JEFF: Today I want to try and help you determine
how you should be performing your reps on whatever exercise you’re performing. It’s
a big question. There are a lot of different ways we could
lift a weight. We could just get it from A to Z. We could try to get it from A to Z focusing
on a lot of details. We could push it fast. We could push it slow. Speed matters. All this stuff, guys, we know we need to focus
on it. But what’s the right answer? I have to answer that by first asking you a question.
That question is: what are you training for? Because if you’re training for strength
or hypertrophy the answer could be different. If you’re training for strength there’s
one thing you should always be seeking. The first thing you should be seeking is efficiency. What I mean by that is, you want to try – let’s
say you’re doing a bench-press. We realize that the bench-press is going to recruit our
chest, our shoulders, our triceps. We’re not trying to isolate on a bench-press if
we’re trying to improve strength. We’re trying to get those muscles to perform
the work together. I’m not trying to, in this instance, say “Hey, get those shoulders
back” – yes, to protect the shoulder, but not for the sake of trying to get the
chest to drive the momentum. Really, really squeeze. Get that hard contraction
the chest as much as you can, squeeze your hands together at the top. No, it’s about
moving the bar and maintaining a proper bar speed because it matters. Actually, moving with a velocity so you can
increase your power as well, because we know strength and power go hand in hand. So, it’s
not about being specific about trying to isolate a muscle. However, if you’re trying to train for hypertrophy
– meaning, increase the size of a muscle – you should not be looking for efficiency,
but inefficiency. How can you introduce new ways to make a rep harder? The more we can do that, the more stress we
can deliver to a muscle and therefore, help it to feel more overload, and adapt in response
by growing bigger. So, we have to look at a few different scenarios. I’m going to use a lat pulldown here and
we’re going to take a few examples where we train to a certain rep range for failure.
We already know that training to failure is not always essential. Especially depending
upon the volume of your training. But to make this example very easy to understand
we’re going to say, ‘train to failure’. The first example would be, let’s say I’m
using a rep range of – I’ll actually write it down here – let’s say I’m training
with my 10-rep max on a lat pulldown and I’m going to fail at 10. But in this one here, I’m taking a similar
approach to the one when I was training for strength, and I’m just worried about going
from A to Z. Moving the bar from A to Z here. That’s the first scenario. The second scenario
is, I use a little bit lighter weight. Not much. Let’s say 12, 13 rep max and I’m
training to 10 rep max failure. 10 rep failure. So, in these two scenarios – in this one
here I’m really trying to be focused on increasing tension in a specific area of that
lift. So, if I’m trying to grow my lats from an
underhand lat pulldown I’m really trying to squeeze. So, let’s take a look at what
these look like. If I’m doing the first example here and I go to pull down, I realize
I have the biceps as my friends here. I realize that I have my upper back as my
friend. I realize that I have my lats as a friend. I realize that what I’m trying to
do is get this bar down to my chest as efficiently as I can, with multiple muscles participating.
That’s scenario one. What happens is, when I get around rep number
10, I’m trying to pull and I can’t get anymore because I’ve fatigued the overall
movement. Not necessarily one, specific muscle that participates in that movement. That’s
scenario one. Scenario two is this one here. Where I’m like “Now I’ve got to lighten
this one up a little bit because what I’m going to do is, I’m going to focus on making
this much more of an inefficient movement.” For my lats, specifically. So, I don’t want
an overactivation and contribution from my forearms trying to achieve this. I don’t want my biceps pulling too much
here. I want to get my elbows down into my sides, adducted hard, and back into extension
so I can maximally activate the lats. So, it looks more like this. I come down, squeeze,
I hang out there for a second, I come up a little bit slower for the eccentric. I’m down, squeeze, and come up, squeeze,
and come up. Squeeze and come up. Squeeze and come up. So, let’s say on the last rep
I fail at 10. That is a weight that I can normally handle if I didn’t do all those
extra things for a few more reps. 12 to 13 in particular. But I stopped at 10 because I couldn’t do
anymore. Those extra intensifying techniques level me out. So now what’s that do? If
we look at a graph here, if this is intensity and this is my reps from one, to six, to ten
– or one, to five, to ten – halfway, if we start on this graph with those two types
of training what do we have? Well, we know the first one – the true 10
rep, the 10 done for 10 and not worrying about the journey so much – that’s going to
be an intensity level around here. Now the one that was at a 12 to 13 rep max, where
would that fall on this intensity curve, in terms of the rep? JESSE: Below it! JEFF: Oh, Jesse! Kind of chiming in. That’s
good to know you don’t just appear on the intros. So now – below it. He’s right
because it’s a lighter weight. The intensity driven by that rep is a little bit lighter. However, you know – I hope – that I could
take this and, depending upon how I performed that rep in the journey I took to get from
A to Z – I could take this way the hell down below this. If you need to see an example
of that all you’ve got to do is look at the following example here. If I have some weight on here, just because
it’s a heavier weight doesn’t mean when I get under here and start doing this – which
you see a lot of guys do – that does absolutely nothing. That’s bullshit when it comes to
developing and trying to create hypertrophy in the lats. That is just a waste of time and effort. So,
I just took this, which was a heavier weight, and I dropped it all the way down here. So,
we’re not talking about hat. We’re talking about this example here. However, do realize that I could take that
weight I had that was slightly lower in weight and bring that intensity up from rep 1 up
here, or even higher, because of how much intensity and focus I put into the initial
rep. Then what winds up happening is, their journey throughout the set. So as this one goes, this is a high intensity
rep. This is a high intensity rep. This is a high intensity rep. This is a high intensity
rep. I also have this mounting intensity here just because of the overall fatigue. So, it’s
climbing, it’s climbing, it’s climbing, and climbing. I get to 10 and I’m done. This one down here, this is pretty easy, in
terms of the intensity level because I’m not applying any of those extra techniques.
So, you guys have felt that yourself. You go through rep one, two, three, four, five,
six and if feels like the only ones that are hard are the last couple. That’s what I’m talking about here. They’re
here. They’re here. They’re here. When we start to get toward the end, now that shoots
up. And it might even end a little more intensely because it was a heavier weight being used.
But look at the difference in the quality of that set. This is where I tell people all the time “You
see inefficiency when you’re trying to get hypertrophy and you’re always going to wind
up in a better place” because all this accrued additional intensity underneath this graph
is what creates that stimulus for growth and overload. That is much more significant than what we
could do here. Now, a couple more points. This is all meaningful, guys. I’m telling
you. If I take this concept and go “I knew it! All I need to do is go really light and
get that tension.” Time under tension is everything. Guys, I preach ‘time under tension’ a
lot. But it’s not always a blanket statement of time under tension because I could come
here and squeeze as hard as I want. And squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. Up. Squeeze,
squeeze, squeeze. That slow, eccentric, slow, slow, slow, slow, slow – all this super
slow motion. That’s not doing anything either, guys.
The threshold for intensity was too low. This weight was not enough to cross that threshold
to even make it productive. Unless you’re training for a metabolic overload. A lot of guys are not necessarily prepared
to train metabolically because the thing with metabolic training is, you do take a light
weight to failure, but you’d better be prepared to take it to a level of intensity you haven’t
trained for in a long time. To make metabolic training effective, it starts
when you – the rep starts when you start to burn. Not ‘when you burn, it’s over’.
When you start to burn, that’s when your set starts, and you go through that burning
resistant more and more. It takes a mental toughness that a lot of guys don’t apply
there. Therefore, they’re making it ineffective.
So, then you could say “If that’s the case, do I discredit this attempt, or this
approach?” My answer to that is also ‘no’. You don’t discredit that approach. Why?
Because this is still about – there’s still a huge value to this, guys. Despite the fact that this is great at creating
hypertrophy, this is also great at a lot of other things. Number one: it’s great at
strength training. Just like it was on the example of the bench-press at the beginning. If I get stronger on this, if i become good
at efficiently moving this bar on a lat pulldown, to the point where I can keep increasing this
pin from workout, to workout, to workout, to workout; am I not getting stronger on this
lift? All strength doesn’t have to happen in a 2, to 3, to 5 rep range. That’s a myth. You can get stronger in any
rep range. What’s great about that is, as that top end strength improves there – and
this is also athletic because I am moving multiple muscles. Getting muscles to contribute
together to move this bar. It’s not about isolating to create inefficient overload on
the lats. This is a more efficiently athletic lifting
pattern. But at this top end strength improves guess what happens to this little green mark?
Because it starts down here, this one would go up. My overall strength would go up. I
might start at a higher level there, but the green also starts at a higher level. So then when the green jumps up, it jumps
up to a higher intensity level there. So, bringing up our top end strength is also going
to bring up that adjusted strength that we had on that second example. So, guys, all
of this matters. When you go to train you have to understand how you’re training. You have to understand the goals of your training.
More importantly, you have to understand why you’re there in the first place. It’s
not about moving from point A to point B or point A to point Z – however you do it.
Sometimes it’s about the journey in between, depending upon what it is you’re training
for. There’s a reason why we follow different
rep ranges and when we program them. We program them at specific places to illicit specific
responses. We do that in all of our programs, depending upon the goal you’re trying to
achieve right now. they’re all over at In the meantime, leave your comments and thumbs
up below. Let me know what else you want me to cover
and I’ll do that for you. If you haven’t already, subscribe and turn on your notifications
so you don’t miss a new video when we publish it. All right, guys. See you soon.

100 Replies to “How to Perform Reps for Most Muscle Growth”

  1. NOTIFICATION SQUAD GIVEAWAY – Want to win an ATHLEAN-X program for free, no strings attached? Click the link below to find out how!

  2. I wish Jeff would have, when he is explained, separate the approach to strength training and hypertrophy more clearly- because there is a big difference and he says so in the beginning, but these two approaches get muddled in his explanations.

  3. Hey man, I'm a big fan of your channel. May I ask how much do you weigh. It's hard to tell through the eyes of a camera. Height and weight would be even better.

  4. Could some one just put this in to leymans terms for me. What is meant My High intensity? More weight or faster reps or both? This actually confuses me. Im doing the classic 12 rep program which i imagine is wrong

  5. Jeff, I am also a Physical Therapist and I usually never comment on any video blog on YouTube. However, this time I felt to leave one. I must say that you really combine the fundamentals of Physical therapy and Strength conditioning into your videos impeccably. Unlike other trainers who just advise PREs with increasing reps, you diligently pay attention to eccentric unloading, biomechanics, different types of levers for mechanical advantage, and other critical tidbits. Great going and wish you all the best.

  6. Lifting heavy between 1 to 12 reps as fast as you can producing as much power as you can on the lifting phase is what builds muscle

  7. So. Basically Jeff. I squeeze hard on every rep at a medium weight? I'm on biceps today. I want them to grow bigger. It's tough to squeeze every rep. It cuts my failure in half. But I hope I'm getting what you mean.

  8. I rely on you clips on my training a lot.
    They are the best when it comes to the real scientific mechanics behind muscle performAnce. Can you summarise the main point at the end in a few sentences if possible in your clips for people with slightly lower attention spans 😬
    Love your clips man , they are the best👍

  9. I do low weights 70 pounds ang do 50 reps then immediately drop the weight down to 60 and do another 50 reps 100 altogether in 2 minutes

  10. This is definitely something I have to work on. I've been training for my baseline strength my first year. Now I'm switching to hypertrophy, and my ego cannot stand lifting lighter weights, thinking "If only everyone in the gym knew that I can lift an impressive amount, but I'm over here doing slightly bent over lateral raises with 5 pounds and burning like crazy."

    But I've been 140-145 pounds for 1.5 years now. It's time to start working inefficiently (lol).

  11. Dude your videos are freak'n awesome…you help me to target muscle groups and properly do exercises that I truly thought I was doing correctly.

  12. So… the idea I took from this video is that if you had a 2 set workout and the first set you do the "efficient" set with a heavily weight THAN the next set, you do a "inefficient" set with lighter weight so that way I am getting both benefits from them.

  13. So then, what is the athletic purpose to hypertrophic training? Other than looking jacked what could the downside of strength training be?

  14. Guuuuuuwuuhaha suKkk it bicheS oWnnned by Jeff, you'll never look as acTıon-figure rippeD! Lolololololo hooohohahaha

  15. Definite integral is the total amount of energy that i'll put into my muscle growth. Yeah! I knew that math will come in handy some day!

  16. It would be useful to know what the relationship between hypertrophy and strength is. My understanding is that strength comes from muscle gains – meaning you cannot have increased strength without increased muscle size. So isn’t training for hypertrophy the same as for strength?

  17. ROFL, all the typical meatheads with no brains just died by aneurysm by the end of this video from a concentration and confusion overload 😂😂😂

  18. When training for hypertrophy on something like this, how do you find that balance between the lower weight and the higher weight, since like you said you shouldn't go too low or you're equally wasting your time

  19. Need some help. So I was more of a powerlifter style guy back in the day. After years of Taco Tuesdays, I'm now out of shape. I'm trying to get back at it, but now being 47, my goals of "go heavy or go home" have been replaced with lose weight and maintain muscle. This is my first week back to the gym after a year off (tricep tear surgery). I'm trying a HIIT style workout. My days of Monday – Chest and Tris, Tuesday – back and bi's, Wednesday – legs, Thursday – shoulders and traps, Friday – Core. This is the schedule I've had for years. The HIIT style is instead of the old a 10 to 4 rep descending set, I'm doing work for one minute with as many reps as I can (like 30), rest for 30 seconds and repeat. What are your thoughts in this?

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