Sure, three sets of 8 to 10 reps "work." And if you have good genetics it can give you good enough results. But don't you want to be better than "good enough?" There are other rep ranges that will help you. And more importantly, changing the rep ranges you use every 4-6 weeks will lead to greater progress in both size and strength than sticking to the same type of stimulation month after month.
4 New Rep Ranges to Try
- 4 to 6 reps with 80-87% of your max. This will stimulate a lot of overall growth and will give you strength to match. And if that isn't enough, you'll also look more solid and harder, even at rest.
- 1 to 3 reps with 90-100% of your max. This might not give you a lot of size by themselves, but they'll make everything you do that day (after the heavy work) more effective by increasing the recruitment of the growth-prone high-threshold motor units. That zone will also help you get stronger faster than anything else. Don't do it for too long – 3 weeks is about right. The joints might take a beating if you're not used to heavy lifting.
- Rest/Pause sets. These will require you to work extra hard and deal with discomfort, but they'll give you more size than any other method you can use. Pick a weight you can lift about 6 times in solid form. Do your 6 reps, rest for 5-10 seconds and then resume the set with the same weight, trying to get an extra 2-4 reps. If you suddenly discover that you have some guts, try to add a second 5-10 second pause and try to get another extra 2-4 reps.
- Clusters. No method will boost strength as rapidly. Each cluster set has 4 to 6 total reps. Pick a weight you could normally lift for 3 good reps. Perform the set one rep at a time. Do one rep, rack it and rest 10-12 seconds. Do another rep, rest 10-12 seconds, and continue in this manner until you reach the point where you can't do another rep. If you can do more than 6 reps, add more weight. Do 3 of these and you're golden when it comes to stimulating tons of strength gains. And because of the volume you'll get bigger, too.