How Many Reps to Build Muscle or Burn Fat?

This is a very common age-old question that has many myths surrounding it.

Some people think high reps burn fat, while lower reps build muscle.

This question is very important because you could be wasting your time in the gym if you aren’t hitting a certain rep range.

Are there a magical number of reps that you need to hit in order to start putting on some serious amounts of muscle?

In order to better understand this question it is first critical to know and comprehend the two different kinds of muscle growth.

Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy

This is the kind of growth that many bodybuilders are after. Training for sarcoplasmic hypertrophy will result in a quicker muscle gain size compared to myofibrillar hypertrophy.

Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is achieved by training with higher reps around twelve to fifteen. One problem with this type of growth is that is does not make the muscle significantly stronger.

This is because sarcoplasm is a fluid and not actual muscle fiber growth like myofibrillar hypertrophy is. Therefore focusing strictly on this type of muscle growth is not ideal for performance athletes who need to build functional muscle.

how many reps to build muscle or burn fat

 -someone who focuses mainly sarcoplasmic hypertrophy by training with exercises like bench presses and squats

Myofibrillar Hypertrophy

This type of muscle growth is authentic muscle fiber growth. Therefore, this type of growth leads to great improvements in strength.

This type of growth is achieved by using a lower rep range around five or so. Unfortunately, this type of growth is very limited and takes a while to build.

However, the muscle that is built looks great and is very functional, dense, and defined.  It is important to train for both types of hypertrophy.

You can use sarcoplasmic hypertrophy to grow the muscle and make it larger, and then use myofibrillar growth the make the muscle more defined. To incorporate this into your training, I recommend staring by training for myofibrillar growth and using lower reps, and then finish off your training routine with sarcoplasmic growth by using higher reps.

how many reps to build muscle or burn fat

-someone who focuses mostly on building dense, defined muscle with myofibrillar growth


To officially answer the question, there is no specific rep range that will build muscle or burn fat. All rep ranges will build muscle.

The difference is the kind of muscle that it will build. No specific rep range will burn fat. There is a myth that higher reps will burn fat, but this is simply not true.

Your body will burn fat by being in a caloric deficit. Sure working out will help you burn calories thus helping you create a caloric deficit, but ultimately you need to focus on your diet if you want to shred some fat off of your body.

My assumption as to how this myth got started is that doing higher reps will burn more calories hence creating a larger caloric deficit. However, it is flat out wrong to assume that higher reps lead directly to burning fat.

If you are still in a caloric surplus, even a thousand repetitions will not cause you to lose any fat.

In Conclusion

You should use your workouts to build or “tone” up your muscles. You should then use your diet to help you lose weight.

This is a very simple approach that will help you keep your sanity. Also do not change up your workout in order to burn fat or to build muscle.

All rep ranges and workouts are meant to build muscle not burn fat. With that being said, workouts will also burn calories, which can help you create a caloric deficit, but do not completely rely on your workouts to help you create a caloric deficit.

It is much easier to control your calories by eating less than it is to burn off more calories by working out more.

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