Build Muscle

The high-rep circuit to build massive muscles

Ex-Marine Chris Van Etten demonstrates how to pound out the reps for major growth.

Chris Van Etten
Jay Sullivan
Jay Sullivan
Duration 30
Exercises 6
Equipment Yes

Lifting heavy isn’t the only way to get bigger muscles. Our advice: keep it light and up the reps.

Lifting lighter loads for 20 to 25 reps can build as much muscle as hoisting massive iron for fewer reps. In a recent groundbreaking study at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, volunteers who did up to 25 reps—enough to grow tired—at just 30–50% of their one-rep max gained the same amount of muscle as those who did just eight to 10 reps at 75-90%.

How it works

Do this as a circuit, completing one set of each move, which you'll repeat three to four times. Or, perform all three to four full sets for each exercise before moving on to the next move. Use weights light enough to allow you to do 20 to 25 reps, or as many reps as possible.

Meet our model

Ex-Marine Chris Van Etten lost both legs to an IED explosion in Afghanistan in 2012. Just a year later, he hand-cycled the entire 26.2 miles of the Marine Corps marathon. He’s also a model in the new Jockey #ShowEm campaign.

The high-rep circuit to build massive muscles Do 3 to 4 rounds

Exercise 1.

Front Raise You'll need: Resistance Band How to
Front Raise  thumbnail
4 sets
20-25 reps
60 sec. rest

Exercise 2.

Seated dumbbell lateral raise You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Seated dumbbell lateral raise thumbnail
4 sets
20-25 reps
60 sec. rest

Exercise 3.

Isometric-explosive pushup How to
isometric workout thumbnail
4 sets
As Many Reps As Possible (AMRAP) reps
90 sec. rest

Exercise 4.

Lying Dumbbell Skull Crusher You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Lying Dumbbell Skull Crusher  thumbnail
4 sets
AMRAP reps
90 sec. rest

Exercise 5.

Renegade Row You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Renegade Row thumbnail
4 sets
AMRAP reps
60 sec. rest

Exercise 6.

Hanging Leg Raise You'll need: Pullup Bar How to
Hanging Leg Raise thumbnail
4 sets
AMRAP reps
90 sec. rest
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