In the world of fitness, whether it be bodybuilding, powerlifting, olympic lifts, general health or pure aesthetics, there has always been a discrepancy on what training style is superior. But often times, the ultimate end goal is not taken into consideration. Let’s face it, there can potentially be a better training style, if you have a specific goal to reach, that allows you to optimize your time and work in the gym.
High Rep Range with Low Load
If you are invested in the bodybuilding or aesthetic part of the fitness industry, you might have heard that reaching your particular goals can only be achieved through the use of a low load, high rep range training style.
This is more or less true for most people. If you are a beginner in the gym, you will yield quite a noticeable difference in your physique. But, on the other end, if you have been lifting for years, utilizing only this training style will not yield nearly the same results.
Studies show that yes, using a high rep scheme is great for building muscle (hypertrophy), but if this is the only training tactic you use, you will see your results fading out as time goes by. You can check out the study here.
Low Rep Range with High Load
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have another training style that utilizes heavy loads with low reps. This rep amount can range from 1 rep all the way up to 5 or 6, it depends on a few factors, including load percentage of your one rep max.
Typically, the people who use this training scheme are powerlifters and olympic lifters. They make use of low rep high load because it has the significant ability to increase strength. And they’re all about pushing for a new one rep max, especially on meet day!
There was a medical study conducted that tested the difference between high rep and low rep ranges with their respective weight. In the study, it found that the people who perform low rep high load resistance training saw greater raw strength gains than the high rep group. You can read the study abstract here.
No matter what your goals are, practically everyone goes to the gym trying to get stronger and build their ideal body. So, making use of both training styles in your gym routine will have you hitting greater numbers and looking amazing!
Though, it is important to note that incorporating certain days with different training styles will ultimately confuse your body; making use of a specific training style for set periods will benefit you far better.
For anywhere between 4-6 weeks, do low rep heavy load training. This will help you get stronger, and benefit you when you get to your high rep low load phase. When it comes to decided acutally training sets/reps, it varies from person to person. You can try doing 5×3 at 85%, 5×5 at 80%, 4×5 at 70%, it all comes does to your load percentage and how hard you push yourself!
After those weeks go by you will want to switch it up to high rep low load training. Now that you’ve completed a strength building phase, the load percentages that you will be hitting for your high rep training will have gone up, so you will have to reassess what weight is comfortable, now that you’re going to be hitting anywhere from 10-15 reps per set.
Regardless of what training tactic you use, it is important to make sure you’re always using proper form at any weight. Varying your training will also help if you’ve been in a slump lately, changing it up will make hitting the gym fun and an all new experience for you.
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