A skinny guy who is trying to bulk up and build more muscle mass needs to include two systems in their weight gain program.
The first will include a diet that is just right for them – the diet should create a calorie surplus, which means excess calories will be available to produce an increase in body weight.
Without the inclusion of the second system, which would be an effective exercise program, the excess calories obtained from your diet would be turned into fat.
Setting up an exercise program with the purpose of building muscle and bulking up can be quite complex.
You first need to ensure you include the appropriate exercises in this program – without careful planning; you might end up burning too many calories and lose weight instead.
In addition to carefully considering the specific types of exercises to be included, many people also ask how many reps to build muscle. This question has no straightforward answer, as growth in muscle mass should really not be the only goal here – but also to increase strength and endurance.
We’ll consider the number of reps you should include to reach your goals in the gym and consider the specific factors that should be taken into consideration.
The Connection Between Your Goal And How Many Reps To Build Muscle
Before we dive into the main question of our post, we need to consider how the number of reps you perform is really connected to the results you achieve.
First, let’s consider what a rep really is – and to do this, we should also talk about sets.
These are two particularly common terms that you are going to hear during your workout sessions – whether you are joining a gym to bulk up or doing research to help you perform your training at home.
The term “rep” is used to refer to repetition – and this is exactly as the name suggests. Repetition is the number of times a particular exercise is performed – the rep refers to the repetition of the same activity within a single short session.
This “session” is then referred to as the set that you are performing.
Let’s assume you want to do 30 bench presses. Doing all 30 at once can be quite tough – and may lead to muscle fatigue.
If your muscle strength and endurance are not up for the task, then that 30 bench pressures will be divided into multiple sets. Each time you do a bench press, you have completed a rep. You might decide to do ten bench presses at a time, and then take a short 60-second break.
With this in mind, it means that you will do three sets, with each set consisting of 10 reps.
One of the major problems that come into play when looking at building muscle with the right number of reps is that many people are not doing the right reps and sets.
Unfortunately, this is often considered a “silent mistake” in the gym – mainly because most people will not realize that they are making a mistake, yet their results may not be what they expect them to be.
When it comes to making a connection between the goals that you are striving toward and the number of reps and sets you perform – then we need to look at hard training versus smart training.
Training hard can pay off, sure – but if you train in a smart way instead, you may find it significantly easier to reach the goals that you have in mind.
Pushing yourself to extreme limits is not always the solution to building bigger muscles – sometimes, a less intense system might work just as well, if not better.
The number of reps that are included in your training workout works in relation to the specific exercise that you are doing, as well as the intensity of the workout.
When you push the weight limits up, then the reps can decrease, and you may still experience good results.
On the other hand, there are cases where a lower weight with a larger number of reps could yield better results, especially when it comes to increasing your muscle endurance and reducing the risk of experiencing fatigue.
How Many Reps Should You Do?
We have taken a quick look at the connection between the popular question of how many reps to build muscle mass and factors like the goals you are trying to achieve, the intensity of the activity you are performing, and the specific type of exercise.
Now, we move our focus to the main question.
When it comes to building muscle and gaining weight, there is usually more than just a single goal that you might be striving for. Sure, the main idea behind the efforts you are implementing would obviously be to help you gain more muscle mass.
This is the obvious one – you want to go from being a skinny guy to gaining an attractive and muscular physique.
The problem that does come into mind here is that simply focusing on muscle mass alone. When you only focus on increasing the lean muscle mass content in your body, you may find that those bigger muscles do not offer you the strength that you might have expected.
At the same time, bigger muscles do not yield better endurance when you do not work in a smart way.
Keeping these factors in mind, it means the question of how many reps to build muscle mass should really be divided into three separate categories. You need to implement an all-around program that focuses on three particular factors:
- To increase your muscle mass, of course
- To increase your muscle strength
- To increase your muscle endurance
Taking these goals into consideration, we will discuss each of these specific factors and the appropriate relation to reps that you should consider while hitting the gym. Note that your program should be developed in such a way to target all three of these goals – but this can usually not be done in the same session.
Thus, consider days when you will be focusing specifically on building muscle size and strength. On other days, however, you may choose to rather focus on endurance.
Remember that muscle endurance is important for allowing yourself to continue to perform in the gym – without appropriate levels of endurance, fatigue may set in and reduce your ability to lift those weights.
Gaining Muscle Size
Let’s start with the primary and most obvious goal that you have in mind. As a skinny guy, you want to bulk up – and that means your main aim with the exercises that you are going to implement is to gain in terms of muscle size and lean mass.
With this in mind, the major part of your training program will likely focus on physical activities that will be able to assist in helping you gain muscle size.
To gain muscle size, you need to activate a process called hypertrophy. There are actually two different types of muscular hypertrophy processes that can be activated – these include myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.
Myofibrillar hypertrophy helps to increase speed and strength, along with muscle size in general. The other type, known as sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, rather focuses on boosting the endurance of your muscle tissue, primarily through an increase in muscle-related glycogen storage.
How you perform your weight lifting exercises – particularly the number of reps and the intensity of the weight – will determine what type of muscle hypertrophy activates in your body.
When you train for an increase in muscle size, your rep range should vary between eight and 12.
This is considered the most ideal range for activating muscle hypertrophy in such a way that your lean muscle mass will grow – which means you are building larger muscles and bulking up.
If you are not currently able to perform a number of reps within the range of eight to 12, then you need to adjust your strategy.
If the weights you are lifting only allows for about six reps at a time, then reduce the weight until you reach one where you can comfortably lift eight or nine reps before taking a rest. If you are currently able to do more than 12 reps at a time, then you need to increase the weights on the bar you are pressing.
You want to perform a true set – which means by the 12th rep; you should not be able to do even a single extra rep before you take a rest.
Thus, experiment with different weights in order to find the perfect balance that allows you to finish a set with eight to 12 reps.
Increasing Muscle Strength
Your muscle-building strategy should not only focus on getting your muscle mass pumped up. This might give you bigger muscles – but you are sure to lack in the strength department.
The strategy used to activate hypertrophy to grow larger muscles do build strength, but not at the level you need to really push your gains.
Consider this – the stronger your muscles, the more weight you will be able to push with every rep when trying to increase your muscle mass. For this reason, focus on increasing the strength of your muscles too.
In order to boost your strength appropriately, you need to create a program where you reduce your reps within some sets. There is no need to focus on both muscle mass and muscle strength within the same session, however.
Focus on mass the one day and then on strength the next day.
To boost your strength, you need to increase the limits of your weights. Heavier weights mean a lower number of reps, of course.
For an effective way of building muscle strength, achieve a weight on your bar that allows you to perform one to six reps at a time before you need a break.
Note that if you are only starting out, consider adjusting your weights for a goal of six reps.
As your strength increases, you can decide to increase the weights further with the next session. Aim for five reps – then four. Continue until you are only able to do one rep per set. s
Enhancing Muscle Endurance
Finally, do not overlook just how important muscle endurance is in your training program. You need the endurance to continue performing in the gym.
Lifting heavy weights can quickly lead to muscle fatigue – but if you focus on muscle endurance too, the fatigue may not develop so soon during your training routine.
Muscle endurance is enhanced through a lower intensity program that consists of a higher number of repetitions. With this in mind, you will obviously be reducing the weight of the bar that you will be pushing – this way; you will be able to increase the number of reps you can perform in each set.
The ideal number of reps to do in each set when focusing on enhancing your muscle endurance would be around 15. This will help to focus on your slow-twitch muscle fibers.
Muscle endurance training does not have to form a part of your day-to-day routine. Rather focus on including a few sets that help to enhance muscle endurance just one or two times a week.
If you have been trying to increase your lean mass as a skinny guy, then you have probably asked how many reps to build muscle in the past.
Finding the right balance with reps is critical, but this does not necessarily mean pushing your body past its limits. We discussed the best number of reps that should be performed based on specific goals in this post.
Consider what goals you wish to achieve, then implement a program that offers the right variation of reps to help you bulk up, boost your endurance, and get stronger.