Tip: Try the 8 x 3 Method for Hypertrophy

Can you really build a lot of muscle doing only 3 reps? Yep. But you need to follow four rules.

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Low Reps, Lots of Sets

Low reps using heavy weights will build strength for sure, but can it build muscle? Of course it can. The secret? Perform multiple sets. Coach Chad Waterbury convinced most of us of this after we tried his programs using an 8 x 3 scheme.

A quick summary:

  1. Perform eight sets of three heavy reps.
  2. Don't train to failure. You should be able to perform at least four reps per set, but you'll stop at three.
  3. Keep rest periods fairly short – about 60 seconds.
  4. Use good form but don't obsess about tempo. Lower the weight under control, but lift the heavy load as fast as possible while retaining decent form.

Why It Works

Multiple sets of heavy-load training targets the Type IIB fibers that have the greatest potential for growth. Performing three sets of three reps won't do much for growth, but eight sets of three will be nitroglycerine to your muscles!