The question of whether or not high reps or low reps are better for fast muscle gains, and weight loss or which one is more effective has been around for a long time. Sometimes it just boils down to a matter of personal preference, but some general guidelines can help you decide what’s best for your goals. In this article, we’re going to be breaking down high rep vs low rep training for muscle growth
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HIGH REPS VS LOW REPS
What it means?
You’ve probably heard the term “high-repetition” or “low-repetition” training before. The terms simply refer to how many times you repeat an exercise in a given set and differ based on whether you’re working with strength or size, respectively.
High Reps: These are when you perform 15-20 and above repetitions of an exercise while keeping perfect form throughout each repetition. This type of workout is better suited for increasing endurance
Low Reps: These are when 1-5 (or you manage 7-10) repetitions are performed per set, usually with sloppy form due to fatigue from previous sets.
This type of workout is best for building muscle mass and increasing strength levels. From 10 -12/15 may be considered moderate sets.
HIGH REPS VS LOW REPS WITH WEIGHT
As established earlier; reps are simply the number of times you repeat an exercise in a given set. The same thing applies to weights.
Reps are a measure of how many times you lift a weight in one set, or how many times your muscles can be contracted before they fatigue.
However, to understand how this works your muscles and as such decide on which one to choose. You have to understand a little about the anatomy of your muscles. (Oh don’t worry it’s nothing complicated or anything like that. It’s rather sophisticated).
When it comes to exercising two types of muscle fibers are activated.
1. Type 1 muscle fiber – referred to as the Slow twitch:
Type 1 muscle fibers have a high endurance capacity and a low glycolytic rate. They are also known as slow-twitch or slow oxidative fibers. They have a high concentration of mitochondria and a lot of myoglobin, which allows them to use oxygen efficiently to produce energy. These fibers are typically red and are commonly used for low-intensity, sustained contractions, such as marathon running and cycling.
2. Type 2-referred to as the Fast Twitch:
Type 2 muscle fibers are known as fast-twitch or fast glycolytic fibers. They have a higher glycolytic rate i.e break down sugar and release energy, generate more force, and tire faster than type 1 fiber. They are white and are used for activities that require high-intensity, short-duration contractions, such as weightlifting and sprinting.
It is important to note that the proportion of type 1 and type 2 fibers varies between individuals and can be influenced by factors such as training and genetics.
Here is a table that summarizes the differences between slow-twitch (Type 1) and fast-twitch (Type 2) muscle fibers about exercise:
|Slow twitch (Type 1)||Fast Twitch (Type 2)|
|Energy Source||Oxygen||Anaerobic metabolism|
|Activation||Slow & even energy that lasts a long time||Sudden bursts & use a lot of energy|
|Optimal Activity||Endurance exercise||Power/speed based|
|Rate of Fatigue||Slow||Fast|
|Example of activities||Marathon run||Weightlifting, sprinting…|
It is worth mentioning that the proportion of type 1 and type 2 fibers varies among individuals and can also be influenced by factors such as training and genetics. Additionally, both types of fibers can adapt and change in response to different types of exercise, which can help improve overall athletic performance.
HIGH REPS WITH LOW WEIGHT
While a high rep with lightweight exercise is a great way to build muscle (considering your progressions with time) it is also most beneficial to gaining more endurance and stamina. This is because this type of exercise engages the type 1 muscle fiber (Slow twitch muscle).
To perform high-rep workouts, you should use a weight that can be lifted for 15 to 20 reps. You’ll want to start with an empty barbell or dumbbell or whichever weight exercise you want to do at the time, and then add loads until you reach the desired number of reps for each set.
For example, if you want to do 10 reps on each side of an exercise like bench presses or squats, then your first set would look like this:
3×18/15(lightest possible weight used in order to complete all 15-18 repetitions).
There’s no need for powerlifting gear like barbells or dumbbells; instead, all you’ll need is something light enough (like a medicine ball) that allows you to complete at least 10 reps per set without stopping halfway through each movement due to exhaustion from dealing with heavy weights and unnecessary difficult movements.
LOW REP WITH HEAVYWEIGHT
Low reps are for strength. They’re used to build muscle and increase strength, but they can also be used to build body weight and keep you in shape. If you’re trying to get bigger or stronger fast, low-rep workouts are ideal because they’ll help you do so in a very short amount of time. Low reps are great for bodybuilding because they allow muscles to grow while maintaining proper form during each rep.
THE MAJOR DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HIGH & LOW REP EXERCISE?
- High-repetition sets are for strength and muscle endurance, while low-repetition sets are for size and power. High reps are used to build muscle, while low reps are used to burn fat.
- Low-repetition training burns more calories than high-repetition training because it requires fewer repetitions per set.
- The primary distinction between high and low-rep exercises is the type of muscle fibers recruited and the physiological adaptations that occur in response to each type of exercise.
- High-rep exercises with lighter weights focus on endurance and slow-twitch muscle fibers, which are optimized for sustained contractions. This type of exercise can boost muscular endurance and cardiovascular fitness, and it’s frequently used to bulk up lean muscle mass.
- Low-rep exercises, which use heavier weights, focus more on fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are designed for high-force, short-duration contractions. Athletes frequently use this type of exercise to increase muscle size and strength and to develop power and explosiveness.
It’s important to note that both high-rep and low-rep exercises have their unique benefits and can be incorporated into a balanced workout program to achieve different fitness goals.
HIGH REP vs LOW REP FOR WEIGHT LOSS
The best approach for weight loss is to combine both high-rep and low-rep exercises in a balanced workout program. Both types of exercises can be effective for weight loss, but the specific benefits of each may vary depending on individual goals and fitness levels.
However, the best type of exercise for weight loss is determined by several factors, including your personal objectives, fitness level, and overall health.
High-rep exercises, which involve performing a large number of repetitions with a lighter weight, can improve cardiovascular endurance and promote fat loss. This type of exercise is frequently recommended for people who want to improve their overall fitness and lose weight.
Low-rep exercises, which involve doing fewer repetitions with a heavier weight, can help build muscle and boost metabolism. Muscle building can result in a higher resting metabolic rate, which can help you burn calories even when you’re not actively exercising.
In addition to other resistance training, it’s also important to incorporate regular cardiovascular exercise, such as running, cycling, or swimming, as well as a healthy diet, to maximize weight loss results.
Ultimately, the most effective way to lose weight is to incorporate a variety of exercises into your routine, including both high-rep and low-rep exercises, as well as a healthy diet and regular physical activity. This can help you achieve your goals.
It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional or a certified personal trainer to determine the best workout program for your individual needs and goals.
IS ONE BETTER THAN THE OTHER?
Some people swear by high-rep training, while others prefer low-rep training. But is one method better than the other?
The answer is: there is no right or wrong answer. You see with each of these types of exercises you get different results (not talking about aesthetics). If you’re looking to build muscle, then high-repetition weight training is your best bet. This type of exercise will help you build more muscle mass in less time than traditional low-repetition weight training. On the other hand, if you’re trying to build strength, then low-repetition bodyweight exercises may be what’s needed to get where you want faster than with high reps alone.
But research has shown that both these types of exercises can still give muscle gains over time, even though one is faster than the other.
RECOMMENDATION: We recommend that you try to incorporate all high, low, and moderate reps in your workout routine. Have them spread over a span of three months or a month however it suits you. For example;
month 1 low rep exercise
Month 2 high rep
Month 3 Moderate.
Nonetheless, In order to decide which is best for you, it’s important to be clear about your goals.
Remember that both high reps and low reps have their advantages and disadvantages. it’s important not to get too caught up in the numbers when making this decision! It’s okay if neither option works out how you’d like them to, there are always other options out there! Like yoga, the traditional full body stretching, etc.
So to recap, high reps vs low reps is a topic that can be confusing and even misleading. There are many different applications of these two approaches. If you’re looking for weight loss or muscle building, then it makes sense to choose the one that’s most effective for your goals. If not, then don’t worry about which one would work best—just do them both!
Stay fit Stay Healthy!! 👌🏾