Physiology of Repetitions

How many times have you heard the statement “High reps will get you cut and low reps will build bulk”.  I hear this at the gym where I train almost every day? It would be nice if training like this did cause these results. I wish it were that easy. I think it’s worth taking a deeper look into the “Physiology of Repetitions” so we don’t stay on the hamster wheel of monotonous and eventually ineffective training. We all know what happens physiologically when we train in the various repetition ranges. We understand the energy systems, fiber types and even the intensities based on the percentages of a one rep max or even percentages of effort. But in the real world what do we see? If you were to go into the gym what repetition range would you see most people working in? Is it 8 to 12 reps? If you were to visit an out-patient physical clinic what repetition range would you see the physical therapist prescribing for their patients? Do 3 sets of 10 reps sound fairly common? But when a performance program is designed based on the sport/mission and work capacity requirements, for the most part we would be fairly accurate in the design. It seems like a “Needs assessment” or “Analysis Profile” is used more often by a Performance Specialist than any other group when designing a training or treatment program. Think of it like this. Within orthopedic medicine you have the diagnosis of Rotator Cuff Syndrome (AKA, tendonitis) and Glenohumeral Multi Directional Instability (AKA, form of shoulder subluxation). Are 3 sets of 10 repetitions the correct rep range for both of these conditions? What should it be? Is it possible to get big without always staying between 8-12 repetitions?  So why do we see these two rep ranges so often used? There is a whole other “Rep World” out there.

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