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Beginners Guide To Set And Rep Variations | Bulk Up

Beginners Guide To Set And Rep Variations | Bulk Up
Daniel Speakman
Writer and expert7 years ago
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Written by Tom Prentice

 Set And Rep Variations For Bulking

Bulking is a period where a bodybuilder aims to put on some serious size which can in turn be turned into muscle so the bodybuilder has more more size so is bigger. There is specific training routines people can do when on a bulk but also specific sets and reps a person can do to really make the most of their bulking period to make the most gains.


When it comes to bulking an athlete will most likely be training with heavier weights than usual due to the fact the heavier the weight the more muscle can be made, with this being said it will be very hard to do an exercise for example bench press and do 8 reps of your 1 rep max, its just impossible, that’s why athletes will tend to adopt a high sets low reps routine when bulking.


This allows for maximum effort when doing the set of the heavy weight, so you can get the most out of pushing that heavy weight and make the most gains.

bulk up

As described in the previous paragraph when on a bulk the training changed to more compound movements which require heavier weights so by adopting a low reps and high sets it allows you to lift the highest weight possible while still working the muscle.


A rep range between 2-4 or 4-6 will be ideal when training on a bulk with compound movements and around 5 or 6 sets. The benefits of doing these low reps and high sets means that the athlete can perform to the best of their ability when it comes to each set, the rest times between each set will be longer than the usual 30 seconds to a minute. When doing big compound lifts such as a deadlift the more time you take to rest after the set means the more recovery your body has for the next set so therefore can lift the same heavy weight again.


This is the benefit of compound training during a bulk so you can take the rest times even after the 4 reps, it may not seem a lot but if you’re deadlifting 140 for 4 reps for 5 or 6 sets that’s a lot of heavy lifting, so the 2-3 minutes break in-between will be very beneficial to your lifting capability

bicep curl mind muscle connection

Take Home Message


During a bulking phase it is important to remember that you should be lifting heavier weights than usual from about 70% to 90% of your 1 rep max as the heavy weights will make the most gains

4-6 reps is the most ideal as it allows the muscles to be worked with a weight its not used to, while the high sets of around 6 will make sure that your muscles are getting enough work from the exercise.

Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you're concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.

Daniel Speakman
Writer and expert
View Daniel Speakman's profile

Dan Speakman is our editor and level 3 qualified Personal Trainer. Having spent time in Australia, he has experience in planning and delivering exercise plans to beginners and advanced athletes — both in the UK and down under.

Dan has also run successful weight-loss camps across the UK, alongside regular training seminars, covering all areas of gym-based training. He also runs weekly fitness boot camps and spin classes.

When he’s not working, or in the gym, Dan enjoys travelling to sunnier destinations, eating out, and trying exciting new foods.