Lots of questions I get about muscle gain and which ranges to lift in. Here is a basic chart I put together. As you can see I have the rep ranges associated with which outcome, Difficulty you should feel during the movement, Central Nervous system stress from the load, and Exhaustion ( how you should feel after)

In a nutshell, lower reps of 1-5 with the appropriate loading of 80% or better (Generally) are better for strength adaptation, will feel difficult each rep, challenge technique, stress your CNS, but you wont leave feeling completely destroyed (which is good, you don’t always need to feel that way)

Reps of 6-12 reps are more suited for muscle hypertrophy or increasing the size of your muscle. Loading will be moderately challenging, CNS demand will be moderate as well as fatigue or exhaustion. You will be doing more reps here and possibly super setting push and pull or upper and lower so you would feel more tired.

Reps of 12+ are more for muscular endurance. High output and lower weights. This is typically what most people stick with 100% of the time because misinformation tells them they have to only do this to get “lean” Good news is, thats false. You actually need a balance of all three of these in order to put more lean muscle on your body.

Why does this matter for you? Getting lean or “toned” is largely diet. So get that into your head now. All “toned” means is that you are removing fat that is hiding your lean muscle. So once you have that diet locked in even a little bit, you hit these 3 methods of lifting and you results will come much faster. In short, you need to eat better and lift more weight for less reps and less weight for more reps. Throw in some cardio 3 days per week also.

The Truth

Growing a specific muscle works better with isolation exercises mixed with barbell lifting and some HIIT workouts 9which can also be done with a barbell to maximize time. That is why you will see days of hypertrophy training and isolation exercises at CFM. While Crossfit is a great tool to get you in shape, there are many other great methods that work and we will use those in our facility as well.

Everyone has different goals that require a different approach. Ive got over 20 years of training and what I described above is the best formula for fitness AND Aesthetics. Our staff has decades of fitness, nutrition and habit coaching to help you individually. This is what sets us apart from other Crossfit Gyms. The individual approach.


We are helping others remotely and also offer it in house at CFM. Let is know if you need a jumpstart for nutrition or a coach to text you throughout the week to keep you on track!