What is the Best Rep Range for Bench Press Hypertrophy?

The bench press is a staple exercise for building a bigger, stronger chest. But what is the optimal rep range for maximizing muscle growth (hypertrophy)? Let’s dive into the science and expert recommendations.
Hypertrophy Rep Ranges

Doing around 6–20 reps per set is usually best for building muscle, with some experts going as wide as 5–30 or even 4–40 reps per set. For bigger lifts like the bench press, 6–10 reps often works best. For smaller lifts, 12–20 reps often works better.

Bodybuilder-Style Bench Press

If your goal is to maximize muscle size, the bodybuilder-style bench press is the way to go. This involves:

Engaging your core
Maintaining a slight arch in the thoracic spine
The point is maximizing time under tension, making your chest work as much as possible

Powerlifter-Style Bench Press

On the other hand, if your primary goal is brute strength, the powerlifter-style bench press may be more appropriate:

Arch the back as much as possible, keeping your butt on the pad
This position helps change the angle of the bar to a decline and shortens the distance the bar needs to travel, making it easier to move heavier loads

For most people looking to build muscle, the bodybuilder-style bench press is the best option. Focus on challenging your muscles with a weight you can lift for 8-12 reps, taking each set to the point of failure within that rep range.

Choosing the right load effectively targets the fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are more prone to growing bigger and stronger in response to resistance training, with enough volume to stimulate growth. However, these fibers fatigue fairly quickly, which is why you can’t lift a very heavy weight very many times.

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Hit your chest from multiple angles with high volume (sets and reps) to maximize growth. In general, your rest periods should be in the 1- to 2-minute range.

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