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 A New Look at Repetition Ranges 
 
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Keeping Fit by . View all columns in series

We therefore recommend that preadolescents typically train with higher repetition ranges (e.g., 10 to 15 reps/set), as this protocol appears to be more productive for strength development and more conservative with respect to injury prevention.

Summary
Genetics generally determines whether you have low muscle endurance (more fast-twitch fibers), high muscle endurance (more slow-twitch fibers), or moderate endurance muscles (even mix of fast-twitch and slow-twitch fibers). Moderate endurance muscles respond well to a fairly wide range of repetitions (e.g., 5 to 15 reps), low endurance muscles respond better to fewer repetitions (e.g., 3 to 7 reps), and high endurance muscles respond better to higher repetitions (e.g., 13 to 17 reps).

Most adults have moderate endurance muscles that increase strength equally well from 5 to 15 repetition training, as long as they experience temporary muscle fatigue within the anaerobic energy system (approximately 20 to 90 seconds). One study found no differences in strength development from 4-repetition training and 10-repetition training, and another study showed similar strength gains from 7-repetition training and 14-repetition training.

Research indicates that children, unlike adults, respond more favorably to higher repetition training (13 to 15 reps) than to lower repetition training (6 to 8 reps).

References

  1. American College of Sports Medicine. 1998. The recommended quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardio respiratory and muscular fitness in healthy adults. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 30: 975-999.
  2. Bemben, D., N. Fetters, M. Bemben, N. Nabavi, and E. Koh. 2000. Musculoskeletal responses to high and low intensity resistance training in early postmenopausal women. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 32 (11): 1949-1957.
  3. Chestnut, J. and D. Docherty. 1999. The effects of 4 and 10 repetition maximum weight training protocols on neuromuscular adaptations in untrained men. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 13: 353-359.
  4. Faigenbaum, A., W. Westcott, and R. LaRosa Loud. 1999. The effects of different resistance training protocols on muscular strength and endurance development in children. Pediatrics 104: 1-7.
  5. Kerr, D., A. Morton, I. Dick, and R. Prince. 1996. Exercise effects on bone mass in postmenopausal women are site-specific and load-dependent. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 11 (2): 218-225.
  6. Vincent, K. and R. Braith. 2002 Resistance exercise and bone turnover in elderly men and women. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 34 (1): 17-23.
  7. Westcott, W. 1993. How many repetitions? Nautilus2 (3) 6-7.
  8. Westcott, W., and R. LaRosa Loud. 2000. Research on repetition ranges. Master Trainer 10 (4): 16-18.
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 About The Author
Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D., is fitness research director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, MA. He is strength training consultant for numerous national organizations, such as the American Council on Exercise, the......moreWayne Westcott PhD
 
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