Changing your rep ranges can break a workout plateau, and most importantly, those who can’t gain muscle by using lower or higher rep ranges should switch their rep ranges to one that works best for their genetics. Just because a program works for someone else does not mean that the same program will work equally well for you.


HOW TO BREAK A MUSCLE BUILDING PLATEAU TO START GROWING AGAIN SUMMARY

  • Changing rep ranges can break a muscle building plateau.
  • Some people respond better to heavy weight training, and others respond better to light weight training.

MUSCLE BUILDING PLATEAU? CHANGING REP RANGES CAN BREAK A PLATEAU IN WORKOUT

Most bodybuilders train anywhere from 6 to 12 reps to increase muscle growth. Some bodybuilders train this way year-round and make great progress, whereas others who train this way can hit workout plateaus.

A new study suggests that just because you are not making gains in muscle mass in response to low rep ranges does not mean you won’t make gains in response to higher rep ranges. A new study had subjects complete 24 weeks of resistance exercise training. Half of the subjects did 12 weeks of light weight training (30% of 1RM with sets of 27-31 reps), followed by 12 weeks of moderate-weight training (80% of 1RM performing sets of 8-12 reps).

When the subjects could perform the prescribed rep ranges, hitting either 31 reps in the light weight group or 12 reps in the moderate weight group, the weight was increased by 5-10%. The other half of the subjects performed the protocol in reverse, performing moderate-weight training first, followed by 12 weeks of light weight training.

1-12 Weeks                               

Group 1:) Moderate weight training (80% of 1RM) , then Light Weight Training (30% of 1RM)

12-24 Weeks

Group 2:) Light Weight Training (30% of 1RM), then Moderate Weight Training (80% of 1RM)

Both weight training protocols consisted of 3 sets until failure using the leg press, knee extensions, leg curls, and calf raises, all performed for three sets (2) with 90 seconds of rest between sets. The researchers also split the subjects into groups, such as high responders or low responders, based on their muscle growth in response to the 12 weeks of training.

hitting a plateau meaning how to break a plateau bodybuilding muscle building plateau muscle growth plateau plateau in workout what to do when you plateau in the gym

RESULTS

At the end of the study, both the moderate and light weights exercises produced similar muscle growth gains. This should be not surprising, given that both light and moderate weight training has repeatedly been found to increase muscle growth. The interesting findings were the people classified as “low” and “high” responders. The “low responders” gained very little muscle in the first 12 weeks of training (less than a half a pound of muscle ~.22 lbs), but the high responder group gained 1.32 pounds of muscle in the first 12 weeks.

During the last 12 weeks of the study, the low responders actually gained more muscle (.88 lbs.) than the high responders (.44 lbs). The high responders gained more muscle at the end of the 24-week program (1.76 lbs), but the low responder group caught up considerably (1.1 lbs).

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU PLATEAU IN THE GYM?

This suggests that some people respond better to training with lower reps, whereas others respond better with higher rep training. Some people classified as low responders in the first half of the study were reclassified as high responders in the second half of the study (i.e., when they switched their repetition rep ranges). Furthermore, someone classified as a high responder in the study could then be classified as a low responder when they switched their rep ranges with a style that was not compatible with their training needs.(1)

This breaks the stereotype of being a hard-gainer or non-responder; it is much more likely that you need to change your workout, which can either be training with lower or higher reps.

CHANGING REP RANGES FOR BREAKING A MUSCLE BUILDING PLATEAU

Changing your rep ranges can break a workout plateau, and most importantly, those who can’t gain muscle by using lower or higher rep ranges should switch their rep ranges to one that works best for their genetics.

Just because a program works for someone else does not mean that the same program will work equally well for you. This was demonstrated in the study in which some people who were classified as a non-responder in training with a certain rep range became high responders when they switched their repetition ranges.

 

REFERENCES

Carneiro MAS, de Oliveira Júnior GN, Sousa JFR, Martins FM, Santagnello SB, Souza MVC, et al. Different load intensity transition schemes to avoid plateau and no-response in lean body mass gain in postmenopausal women. Sport Sciences for Health. 2022.

About The Author

%d bloggers like this: