Resistance Training – low reps or high reps

One of the questions I get asked the most when I’m training is ‘why do you use low rep workouts?’ Well, I’ll tell you now, there is no real scientific reason behind it – for weight loss that is.

It just feels good, and I gain real improvements with my strength levels. But I also do high repetition sets.

Low reps

So my workouts mainly consist of 3 sets of 6-8 repetitions. I use a basic rule of thumb when doing this. If I can complete all 3 sets at 8 rep’s I will increase the weight by 10-15%. So if I’m doing a bench press at 70kg, the next time I work out I will increase this by another 10kg.

Why do I do this? As I said before I receive huge improvements in my strength levels.

Rather coincidentally, I had a moment in the gym yesterday, where I miscalculated the weight. Whilst I was performing my deadlift, I meant to put on a steady 80kg, but I actually put on 120kg.

My previous best,the week before was 100kg. This week I managed to push up to 110kg due to my mistake. In total, I have increased my deadlift by 30kg in roughly 2-3 months!

So that just gives you an idea of how quickly you can increase strength doing this.

High Reps

High Repetition sets are still important, it gives you a chance to check your form, relax your body (to an extent) but more than anything else; it gives you the chance to increase your endurance levels.

It’s all good and well if you never have to lift a finger and being super strong. But what about later on; when you’re mowing the lawn and it takes all your energy just to carry the lawnmower out of the shed?

There is also the scientific reasoning behind this. studies show that high repetition resistance training actually promotes the growth of bigger muscles – it’s worth noting strength and muscle size aren’t always the same thing.

So what should you do?

Remember to build the foundations before you furnish the house.

So if both these exercise forms are so important, what should you do? Well, it’s actually your decision. This isn’t the part where I tell you ‘its all up to your end goal’. However, this is the part where I tell you to experiment and find out what works best for you.

As a starting point, I would typically say do 4-6 weeks of low rep training followed by 2-3 weeks of high repetition training, to really improve your looks and strength together.


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