Female Bodybuilding & Fitness

The Fat Burning Secrets

The Never Ending Question about Repetitions

Part 1 - Muscle Gain

By Karen Sessions, author of Iron Dolls, The Competitive Edge, and Killer Quads

Ah yes. It's that time of the month again ladies and I don't mean that! I'm talking about one of the many questions I receive several times a week. It's about training, more specifically, repetitions.

The question is"how many repetitions do I need to perform?" Well, that all depends on your goals. It's not a simple straight shot answer.

Exercises, sets, and repetitions all center around your goal; whether it is muscle gain, muscle maintenance, or fat loss. Let's discuss muscle growth so you can get a better perspective.

Muscle Gain

Muscle is built through intensity, heavy weight, and proper form. It is also built with proper nutrition, adequate rest, and added supplementation. Assuming you have that down, let's dig a bit deeper to really get those muscles to respond.

Obviously, it takes desire, work, and dedication to build a muscular physique. Quality training is also a necessity to build a body of iron.

When we speak of quality training in relation to muscle gain, it's a bit different than just mere muscle maintenance or basic fat loss. The working factor behind building muscle is receiving enough calories to power the training, AND to feed the body afterwards to prompt recovery.

When you are training to build muscle you have to train your mind, as well as your body to move the weight because at least 90% will be mental energy.

To build large and dense muscle you have to target the Type II B muscle fibers, and those are recruited in the 4 to 6 repetition rage. This does not mean you can just choose any weight, start lifting, and expect to explode muscle.

The weight has to be heavy enough in order for you to reach complete muscle failure at the 4 to 6 repetition range. When you go beyond the 6-repetition range you are doing more endurance and muscle maintenance training, unless the set is taken to complete failure. (Muscle failure is when you cannot possibly do any more repetitions within a set)

Countless exercises and sets are not needed to stimulate muscle hypertrophy. The idea is to stimulate, not exaggerate. Tear down the muscle and allow it to rebuild and grow.

Constant badgering will not make your muscle respond, but it will send you into over training mode. With this, choose two different exercises for the targeted body part and limit your sets to 2 or 3 in the 4 to 6 repetition range.

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Example of a Quality Shoulder Workout for Musle Gain:

  • Shoulder Presses - 2 sets of 6 repetitions to complete failure.

  • Lateral Raises - 3 sets of 6 repetitions to complete failure.

  • Front or Rear Shoulder Work - 3 sets of 6 repetitions to complete failure
    Alternate front and rear deltoid work each week.

Surprising to some, this is all you need to stimulate your shoulders to grow. Intensity is the key, not countless repetitions.

Read Part 2 of The Never Ending Question regarding repetitions and fat loss

Train + Eat + Rest = Muscle Growth

Karen Sessions NSCA-CPT

P.S. Discover more GREAT information in Iron Dolls - Female Bodybuilding Secrets!


About The Author

Karen Sessions has been in the fitness industry since 1988 and is a multi-certified personal fitness instructor and specialist in performance nutrition. She is a nationally qualified natural female bodybuilder, holding numerous titles in the southern states including two overalls.

Karen has written six eBooks on fitness. She also writes articles for several fitness websites, and distributes two monthly newsletters regarding weight loss and female bodybuilding.

Karen has helped hundreds of clients reach their goal of transforming their body. Her success and success stories speak for themselves. Iron-Dolls.com