What is the minimum effective RM for muscle

Discussion in 'Hypertrophy-Specific Training (HST)' started by Ruhl, Jul 19, 2005.

  1. Ruhl

    Ruhl New Member

    I lift light weights because of my bad joints, in the range of 15-20RM, but I also want to gain muscle, even if at a slow rate. What is the minimum effective RM (rep max) for muscle growth to occur?
  2. baby a

    baby a New Member

    I don't think that can be answered....how could it? Strength will invariably differ from person to person.
  3. jvroig

    jvroig Super Moderator

    It's not really the volume (# of reps) that is important if you want to build muscle.
    Generally, it takes even only as little as 4 reps for a load to stimulate hypertrophy, as long as the load is significant.
    Hypertrophy really isn't more about volume, but about load (that is, if the case were "high volume vs. high load", load would be the winner).
    So, Ruhl, if you want to build muscle, it's not about how many reps you do for a weight. Chances are, if you do 15-20reps, that means the weight you are using is far below the weight you can actually use.
    Remember, at 80-90% of your 1RM, all fibers are recruited and it takes just a few reps to do the job (i.e., to stimulate hypertrophy). By using a weight you can do 15-20 RMs on, you limit yourself to using a weight that is perhaps only 40% of your 1RM (just an approximate).
    I hope this helps  :)
  4. 9to5lifter

    9to5lifter New Member

    HST is based upon the principle (among others) that the minimum effective load depends on your level of conditioning. After a long layoff, even a light weight (allowing 15-20 reps) can be effective, but this will last for a few weeks at best. After that, RBE sets in and you must increase the weight in order to stimulate further hypertrophy (or decrease your level of conditioning, but this is not practical for light weights, you can't SD every 2 weeks of training).

    I suggest that you heal first (maybe a long SD followed by 2-3 weeks of 15's ?) and then continue with normal load progression. If your joints still bother you, do not go too heavy and concentrate on good form. Try to substitute painful exercises with others equally effective (if possible, otherwise some isolation exercises could help).
  5. I believe I remember Bryan or an article I read saying that after proper deconditioning loads as low as your 20 rep max can build muscle. On the other hand loads as high as 120% of your 1 rep max can build muscle as well (negatives).

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