Nov 29, 2021
Building Both Muscle & Strength

Generally speaking, training to get strong involves low sets of heavy weights, while training to pack on muscle – also known as hypertrophy training – involves higher reps of light to moderate weight.

A recent article on outlined how athletes can build both strength and muscle by speaking with sports scientist and powerlifter Greg Nuckols among others.

Below is an excerpt from that article.

muscleNuckols, who runs Stronger by Science, published an in-depth review of a wide body of scientific literature to find evidence for the hypertrophy rep range, but found that “there’s simply not a very big difference in muscle growth when comparing different rep ranges.”

Evidence suggests that there might be a rep range that achieves the most muscle growth, but the picture isn’t clear and, if there’s a benefit, it’s most likely minimal.

While it might be tempting to simply do low, heavy reps to reap both hypertrophy and strength benefits, in practice this isn’t the most effective approach.

It’s incredibly hard to get enough volume for strength by doing sets in the 1-5 rep range. Heavy sets come with incredibly high levels of muscle fatigue and the workload takes much longer to complete. So, to achieve both goals, you need a combination of rep ranges.

“Since different rep ranges go about triggering a growth response in slightly different ways, you’re probably better off training with a full spectrum of rep ranges instead of rigidly staying in a single rep range and intensity zone,” writes Nuckols.

» ALSO SEE: Building an Effective Soccer Strength & Conditioning Program

You’ll need to establish what your goals are and what outcome you care most about; if it’s hypertrophy, then the majority of your training should include moderate lifting, while still having space for low and high reps.

If your priority is strength building, then include more low rep ranges in your training, but continue to do the other two. The low, heavy reps should be directed at the lifts you want to improve on the most.


  1. Combine rep ranges
  2. Refine technique on your important lifts
  3. Use accessory lifts to target lesser-used muscles
  4. Include block periodization to get over plateaus
  5. Manage recovery by avoiding failure and de-loading every once in a while.

To read the full article from on building muscle and strength, click here

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