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166
Posted by
Weightlifting, Powerlifting (Recreational)
11 years ago

Rippetoe's Rep Range Chart

Linky: http://i.imgur.com/UrF1U.png

So I decided to make a digital version of the ever-popular scanned image of the rep range chart from Rippetoe's Practical Programming. I realized after this misunderstanding that the existing one wasn't as clear as it could be and why not make one that was clean-looking. So if you ever need to cite this for some reason feel free to use this.

For those of you who haven't seen this before: this chart is usually cited to explain the difference between training for strength and training solely for size: sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is an increase in muscle size without an increase in muscle strength.

120 comments
93% Upvoted
level 1
Comment deleted by user · 11 yr. ago
level 2
Op · 11 yr. ago
Weightlifting, Powerlifting (Recreational)

Strength = moving heavy stuff (as in Powerlifting)

Power = moving heavy stuff fast (as in Olympic Lifting)

34
level 2

Strength is the ability to perform work. If we are the same height and squat 200lbs 1 time, we perform the same amount of work, and are considered equally strong.

Power is the ability to perform the work very fast. Again back to the 200lbs squats, if my squat takes five seconds and your squat is .5 seconds, your squat was more powerful than mine.

Since I am more interested in becoming a more powerful snowboarder and mountain bike rider, I attempt to do all my strength lifts at maximum speed.

2
level 2
· 11 yr. ago · edited 11 yr. ago

To dumb it down as far as possible (I could've used this at some point):

A big guy picks up a really heavy weight slooowly, that takes an incredible amount of strength.

A little guy pops a heavy weight above his head fast, that takes an incredible amount of power.

2
level 1

These numbers are a lot different from those published in Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (the NSCA textbook). That book recommends up to six reps for strength, one to five for power, six to twelve for hypertrophy, and above twelve for endurance. Does anyone have any insight into the discrepancy?

6
level 2

Everybody has their own program don't they. There must be ten thousand programs out there for every purpose from losing weight to gaining muscle.

You'd think by now science would have a definitive answer to how to gain power, strength, muscle mass, and endurance.

2
level 1
· 11 yr. ago
Martial Arts, Weight Lifting (Recreational)

lactate generation

So if I do a whole bunch of reps I will start to lactate? Wicked, natural GOMAD.

Also, what's the "silliness / madness /death" stuff mean?

8
level 2
[deleted]
· 11 yr. ago

Also, what's the "silliness / madness /death" stuff mean?

Just Rippetoad's gruff humor, implying if you do 100 reps at less than 25% max then you are on a silly road to madness and death. Of course if your goal is to build tolerance to pain then this is a perfectly acceptable range of weight/reps you should be concentrating on.

2
level 2

Also, what's the "silliness / madness /death" stuff mean?

It's not a joke. See Rhabdomyolysis.

1
level 1

So if I'm reading this correctly I'd be better off backing down to like 5-7 reps and lifting heavier than going for 10 with a bit less weight. My primary goal is overall health, and I don't care much about size. I've always done 3x10s, I guess its time to change it up.

How do sets play into this though? Is there any chart that shows the effects of a 5x5 vs say a 10x3?

4
level 2
[deleted]
· 11 yr. ago

Is there any chart that shows the effects of a 5x5 vs say a 10x3?

Generally, when one writes a program, they include intensities next to the rep ranges to indicate how heavy one should go. Typically, a 5 rep max is 85% of one's 1 rep max. Similarly, a 3 rep max would be about 90% of one's 1 Rm.

in other words: if one squat 100 pounds, one could presumably squat 85 pounds five times and 90pounds three times. In a typical 5x5 program, when they tell you to do 5 reps, they are generally recommending one to do that work at 85% of one's max.

Alternatively, a program can also say to do 5x5 but indicate the work be done at 75% 1RM, or about 75 pounds in this example, or about the weight that one can do for 10 reps. there are a variety of reasons why one would work with lighter weight. this type of programming is typical in non-linear periodization that's common in powerlifting-style strength training.

Anyway, back to the 5x5/10x3 thing. I'll change it to 6x5 so that the volume works out to be equal for illustrative purposes (both have 30 total reps -- 6x5 and 10x3 both are 30). Presumably, if the programming says 10x3, it implies that one is to lift at 90% of 1RM for 3 reps of 10 sets. Similarly, the 6x5 is to lift at 85% of one's 1RM.

The 10x3 is more intense compared to the 6x5 but the volume is equal. That is, one is lifting at a higher %RM even though the amount of total reps is the same.

The fatigue response to higher intensity work is higher compared to low intensity work at the same volume.

Therefore, training at 10x3 might not always be feasible day in, day out. It might be just too much on the CNS to do that much work. The 5x5 range may be a bit more permissable for recovery while still providing benefits in strength. on the other hand, spending time in the 3-rep range is certainly a good idea. Spending time with heavy weight, even singles, is a good thing.

To get directly to your question, I don't have a chart but I can suggest that they are both 'strength-leaning' rep ranges. Neither rep range will really provide much sarcoplasmic hypertrophy after a certain point in development and it's really a matter of what one can recover from. Heavy weight brings more intense CNS adaptation/strength but one cannot recover from 10x3 as well as 5x5 (or 6x5). Work in either rep range will mostly provide myofibrillar hypetrophy, but again, it's about recovery.

Basically, it's about balance. It's not really that one rep range is better than the other, it's just a matter of figuring out what kind of programming matches how the body is responding. Both are pretty similar, they lean towards myofibrillar hypetrophy rather than sarcoplasmic hypetrophy and they both lean towards illiciting a 'max strength-increasing' response from the CNS.

The crux of programming is figuring out how to put it all together to get the best results.

you mentioned that you're primarily training for health. In that regard, the window is pretty big for what you can do. You'd probably be well served to spend more time in the 3-10 rep range than going higher but you're welcome to do most anything.

I personally recommend that folks who are primarily interested in health to spend just a couple of days weightlifting with three or so movement each day focused around the lower rep range and spend the rest of their time working on their 'general physical preparedness (GPP)'.

14
level 2
· 11 yr. ago · edited 11 yr. ago

How do sets play into this though? Is there any chart that shows the effects of a 5x5 vs say a 10x3?

Check this vid

My primary goal is overall health

Well the lower rep ranges will give you more strength per size increase, but I don't know that that is a great way to measure overall health.

That vid is more strength related, but for optimal hypertrophy 45-60% of 3 sets of 8-12 is what many lifters like to fall on for sarcoplsamic hypertrophy.

3
level 1
· 11 yr. ago
Powerlifting

Thanks for this chart, it'll come in handy.

3
level 1

So why is Starting Strength 5 reps of everything instead of 1-3 reps?

3
level 2
[deleted]
· 11 yr. ago

"For the novice, a repetition scheme that is right in the anaerobic middle works best: sets of 5 reps. Fives are close enough to the strength end of the continuum to provide tremendous increases in strength, the primary goal of the novice. Fives are also enough reps to develop a tolerance for elevated work levels, and provide for a good amount of hypertrophy so that muscular weight gain occurs too. This mix of adaptations provides a very good fitness base that allows for progress. Fives seem to be close to optimal for the novice; they effectively stimulate strength gains and other forms of progress without producing sufficient muscular or neuromuscular exhaustion to cause technique deterioration at the end of the set" From PP seems to give a reason

15
level 2
Op · 11 yr. ago
Weightlifting, Powerlifting (Recreational)

You'd have to ask Rip. My guess: it's safer to work with weights you can rep 5 times than only 3.

9
level 2
[deleted]
· 11 yr. ago

SS is not intended to specialize any one specific goal, just build a foundation of strength/power/size that you can then use to move onto training programs that concentrate on your intended goals.

3
level 2

In addition to what people have said here, rip says that novices aren't coordinated enough to actually lift at their true 1RM. So he has them lift at 5 reps so that they can get the motion perfectly ingrained in their mind so that when they do 1RM full focus can be placed on force.

1
level 2

because it isn't likely a beginner has the neural acuity, or ability to recruit the high threshold motor units needed to lift in excess of 90% of thier maximum. Basically their nervous system isn't efficient enough to do the work. The ability to recruit the highest threshold motor units comes with time, as does any sort of result. It isn't just immediate, it is a skill that has to be trained for. It is much easier, and safer to develop this with slightly lighter weights.

1
level 1

Does anyone have the Rippetoe chart that categorizes a bunch of different lift numbers for different weight classes as beginner, intermediate and advanced lifting? It was posted on here a while ago but I can't find it again.

6
level 2
Op · 11 yr. ago
Weightlifting, Powerlifting (Recreational)
21
level 2

I made an excel file to give some summary stats if anyone is interested, it includes this. Link

2
level 1
· 11 yr. ago
Powerlifting

i like playing the silliness category.

2

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