How many reps per set produce the best size gains? And what the hell are Effective Reps?

Remember what I’m about to say for later in the post – when we train, we want to DISRUPT HOMEOSTASIS to guarantee that growth has been stimulated. And I’m going to show you exactly how to do that. Keep reading…

Check this out first. This is from world-renowned trainer Charles Poliquin

Mechanical tension, muscle damage, and metabolic stress are best produced with the following “hypertrophy-style” protocol:  A moderate rep range (8 to 12 reps) with moderate loads (65 to 85 percent of the 1RM)…Training to failure is also indicated because lifting to the point where you can’t go anymore produces muscle damage and a large protein synthesis response, which will lead to greater muscle development.

This rep range to failure idea is also echoed by likes of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, Tom Venuto, me…and many others. Take a look at this:

  • 1-5 reps  85-100% Neural Strength & Power, Little Hypertrophy  
  • 6-8 reps 75-85% Neural & Metabolic Strength & Hypertrophy
  • 9-12 reps 70-75% Metabolic & Neural  Hypertrophy & some strength
  • 13-20+ reps 60-70% Metabolic local endurance, some hypertrophy, little strength


The “sweet spot” for growth is in red.

This exact number of #reps builds the most #muscle. Click here Click To Tweet


Additionally, an interesting meta-analysis (study of studies) into this subject conducted in 2007 [1] found that lifting 60%-85% of your 1 Rep Max was the most effective way to stimulate growth. This percentage of 1 rep max translates to about 6-12 reps per set i.e. you reach positive failure somewhere between the 6th and 12th rep. 


THT Training

Of course, since I created my own lifting program based on real research, my Targeted Hypertrophy Training (THT) has you training at a low of 6 reps per set, and high of 12 reps per set (either 6-8 reps per set or 8-12 reps per set).

Download the full THT workout and free app to track your progress below. After inputting your email, you will be taken directly to the download page for instant access to the workout. You don’t need to go to your email to confirm anything.





What we want to do when training to make the best size gains is DISRUPT HOMEOSTASIS to such a degree that the body has NO CHOICE but to adapt by building more muscle. That’s what THT and Advanced THT Training is all about!

The early reps in a set DON’T get the job done. Only those last few reps up to the point of failure will disrupt homeostasis sufficiently. It is therefore those last 1-2 reps that can be rightly called EFFECTIVE REPS.

People who don’t believe that intensity matters, but that Total Volume is how progress should be measured, are simply missing the point. If you cut out those last few reps, but perform more sets to increase volume, you are NOT performing the most important reps in the set – THE EFFECTIVE REPS.

THIS IS THE IMPORTANT POINT: All reps are important, but not all reps are equal in terms of their ability to stimulate growth.


So I wrote this post today to encourage you for a new week of training! REALLY GO FOR IT! Stop messing around in the gym. Don’t hold back! Start training with REAL Intensity! Do those effective reps! Grab the MuscleHack app from the Google Play store and track your workouts in it.

If you have any questions, ask below and I’ll be happy to help you out ~ Mark McManus 🙂

Reference: [1] The influence of frequency, intensity, volume and mode of strength training on whole muscle cross-sectional area in humans. Wernbom M, Augustsson J, Thomeé R

P.S. I know that putting together a diet for mass gains or getting shredded abs can be a pain in the butt, especially if you are new to this – that’s why I offer a service where I will do all the tough ground work for you.
You probably don’t know how many calories you need, or how many grams of protein, carbs or fat you need (based on your personal stats)…BUT I DO. Then I can take these numbers and create an exact meal plan for you to hit those numbers spot on! You’ll know what foods to eat and even when to eat them. All you have to do…is do it. No thinking involved. If you’d like me to take care of this for you, see the Get Me Shredded option on my Coaching Page here.

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Get The Free MuscleHack App!

FREE for iPhone & Android! Just go to the App or Play store and search for 'musclehack'.

The THT workouts are already programmed into the app so you can track your progress to make sure you are packing on new slabs of muscle!

You’ll also get all my latest tips for free in the app!

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You'll love your fast gains on THT!

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You'll love your fast gains on THT!

Cool! Click here to take you to the download page. (or check your email for the download link)