Should you use high reps and low weight or low reps and a heavy weight?
The answer is very simple
But it depends what your goals are.
Let’s look at the number of reps as a continuum.
If you can lift a weight only once and not even get two reps that is considered your 1RM, or your one rep max.
If you can lift a weight for 15 reps then that is your 15RM
The reps you use should always be in line with your goal or your desired outcome.
If you wish to get really strong then you should use the rep range of about 1-5 which means you will pick a weight for a given exercise and perform no more than 5 reps.
If you can perform more than 5 then you need to up the weight.
You will need much longer between your sets for recovery too. For example, if you were doing 5 sets for 5 reps, you would perform your 5 reps and then rest for at least 2-3 mins before performing your 2nd set.
Let’s say you want to build muscle and get quite strong at the same time.
Your best bet would be to work in the rep range of about 6-12.
Optimal would be 8. This means you could have a workout schedule on a given exercise of 4 sets of 8 reps, give or take a few reps. If you found yourself getting 12 reps of more then you would need to increase the resistance so your reps were reduced.
Let’s say that fat loss is your goal and for most of you reading this, I can imagine it is.
You would be best to focus your efforts in the 8-12 rep range and reducing the rest period between sets to 60 secs or even less sometimes.
Does that make sense?
There is absolutely no point in a guy working in the rep range of 15-20 if he wants to gain a little muscle and strength.
This doesn’t mean the reps won’t feel hard or burn or even make him sore the next day.
But it will be using a whole different energy system and use very different muscle fibres to the ones he wants to stimulate in order to get stronger and build muscle.
He would be better off working in the 6-10 rep range for his working sets.
The same goes for a woman that wants to burn fat off stomach and her bum doing endless sets of high rep crunches or glute raises
Multiple sets of 15, 20 or even 30 reps because she just wants to tone and not build too much muscle.
Guess where she SHOULD be training?
Yep, in the 6/8-12 range, the same as the man.
We know that building TOO much muscle is not an issue for women so by building as much as you can, you will optimise your fat burning, shaping, toning, leaning out or whatever you want to call it 🙂
It’s frustrating for many of you when you see a celebrity endorsing high reps, body weight, and circuits and vehemently advising you to stay away from heavy weights to avoid getting bulky.
Even more so when they have many testimonials of people getting in shape using their systems or protocols.
What you have to realise is that many of these “results” were going to get results regardless of what they did.
High reps, lows reps, no reps….it’s all the same to the genetically gifted.
It’s the truth.
Many of the testimonials are not even real.
I know of at least two celebrities that endorse a certain high rep/low weight protocol and swear that was the way they achieved their results, when it’s common knowledge that they hit the weights hard and heavy, doing boxing, yoga, swimming and HIIT cardio 6 days per week…..
….plus they have a personal chef on hand 24 hrs per day, a stylist, massage therapist and so on….
1) Look at your goal and then choose your rep range.
2) Don’t believe the hype.
3) There is no magical answer or pill so stop looking for that quick fix.
Getting results is simple.
Hard work but very simple.
Whatever your goals, you won’t go far wrong if you lift the heaviest weight possible for about 6-12 reps.
I hope that helps you guys?
Have a great Friday and and even better weekend.
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