Weights The Right Way: Understanding The Rep Question
You’ve made it to the gym. You’re blasting through your workout. But, moving onto the free weights, squat rack, or bench – you hesitate.
Gym newcomers and old pros alike understand that strength training is a vital part of any well-rounded fitness routine. Aside from building muscle, working with weights can help you burn calories and develop an all-around healthier you.
But the big question remains: should you be doing high weights, for low reps, or, should you focus on low weights for high reps?
The answer just might surprise you. For a quick primer on the right way to strength train, check out this guide from the experts at Custom Kinetics.
In terms of answering the “question,” there is a general agreement about “types” of lifting.
As outlined here, pure heavy weight, low rep workouts are for massive muscle building and are thought to be ideal for athletes, as their goal is usually to be able to expel more energy in their given sport.
Conversely, low weight, high rep oriented workouts are thought of as suitable for the “average” gym-goer. Participants in this kind of training can expect to build lean muscle while avoiding potential injuries.
But, these guidelines aren’t exactly rules!
(Lightly) Bucking Conventional Wisdom
How do the above rules really stack up? It’s a little complicated.
According to a recent study featured in Men’s Fitness, lifting lightly and at high repetitions is just as effective at building muscle as heavier, lower rep-centered workouts. Study participants were divided into two groups and asked to complete workouts that targeted similar muscle groups – albeit through the two different lifting schemes.
After 12-weeks, the groups reported equal gains! The reason? As discussed by the researchers, the secret lies in “total work volume”—a figure calculated by multiplying weight x repetition. A high number means the body is working hard and building muscle.
An aspect to keep in mind: personal goals. As mentioned by Dr. Stuart Phillips, the lead researcher behind the Men’s Fitness study, deciding to lift heavy weight until exhaustion or sticking to a regimen of high “total work volume” can come down to a choice between building pure strength or focusing on aesthetics.
When deciding what approach to follow, the most important thing to remember is the power of hard work. Push your muscles while completing your workouts the right way and you’ll be assured results.
The Best Approach
Even with the gap between the two patterns of weight training seemingly made smaller, it can still be difficult to decide, what to do in the gym.
In the eyes of sports medicine and human performance doctor Jordan Metzl, the secret lies in a combination. Switching the “style” of your weight lifting through split days or some other alternation can both prevent over-use injury and keep your workouts interesting.
Get Help From A Personal Training Expert
If you are looking to build muscle and feel like a healthier you, it might be time to consult a personal trainer. At Custom Kinetics, a staff of qualified and friendly personal trainers awaits., The Custom Kinetics team can develop a strength-building regimen perfect for you.
Contact Custom Kinetics today to get started!