When it comes to building muscle, or just generally trying to get in shape, knowing how to structure your training and your workouts can prove to cause quite the headache for a number of people. A common question we get is, what is the purpose of high reps vs low reps. You see, when it comes to getting in shape, some individuals will tell you that you should be lifting heavier weights and performing fewer reps, whereas other people will tell you that lighter weights and higher reps is the key to success. With one person saying one thing, and another person saying something else, who do you believe? Well, to help get to the bottom of things, here’s a more in-depth look at the high reps vs low reps situation.
High Rep/Light Weight Training
To begin with, we’ll start by taking a look at high rep training. Most people who lift weights in the gym, will perform around 8 12 reps per set, which is pretty high. If you’re looking to increase your muscle mass and definition high rep training is ideal. This is known as structural hypertrophy by the experts, with the basic principle being that higher rep training allows the individual to focus solely on whichever muscle group they are training. Most people who incorporate high rep training into their program will perform fewer sets per exercise as well, typically aiming for between 3 and 4 sets of around 12 20 reps. The weight used will obviously be relatively light, because it should allow them to perform at least 10 – 12 repetitions with perfect form, before the muscle begins to tire and fatigue. Although your strength will also increase slightly with this type of training, the main improvements you notice, will be in terms of muscle size and definition.
Low Rep/Heavy Weight Training
Individuals who take part in low rep training will generally use a much heavier weight per working set, and will perform far fewer reps than usual. In terms of what a low rep range actually is, it can generally be anything from one repetition, all the way through to 6 reps per working set. Low rep training with heavier weights puts much more stress and strain on your nervous system, thus making it more efficient. Say for example, you go from 12 reps per set down to just 4 or 5 reps per set, this increases stress being placed upon your body. This in turn means more muscle fibers are recruited, which then allows the muscles to generate more strength and power. Needless to say, the main benefits associated with heavy weight/low rep training, are increases in muscle strength and power, though obviously you will still see notable increases in size, and definition if your diet is on point. If mass and strength are your goals, perhaps a heavy weight/low rep routine would be best suited for you.
Well that is the scoop on high reps vs low reps. Checkout more great resources here on exercising properly. Also, whether you have weights or not you will want to take a look at this must read article “Three of the Best Bodyweight Exercises“. Also, beef up your knowledge on Strength training workouts here.