THE BLOG
10/31/2016 11:25 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

High Reps Light Weight, Or Low Reps Heavy Weight For Building Muscle?

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Through the years many have tried to build muscle and cut body fat by using various methods. What works for one person, doesn't work for another. It was thought in the 1950's that three sets of 10 reps for three times a week on each exercise was the key to getting a muscular body. This worked for many at that time and diet was basically high protein and low carbohydrates. Monday, Wednesday and Friday were the workout days and the in between days off were the recovery days.

It's a known fact that muscle hardness and growth response to resistance but how much is enough? Isometrics which are immobile will harden the muscle but not give it size and is very limiting, not to mention boring.

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Isometrics can be done in the office without the use of machines or weights, but you want movement with extension and contraction.

I started with Power Lifting and using heavy weights for a strong foundation of strength and size.

This worked well and I would pyramid up and down in weights such as reps, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1 and adding weight with each set then lighten the weight up for 12 reps.

This put on a lot of size and strength as well. I also used the 4 sets of 7 routine with a moderately
heavy weight for adding more muscle and shaping it. If I took a day and just did light weights I just didn't feel it or like it was doing me any justice since there was not much resistance and just going through the motions.

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The newer concept today is to go lighter and use 25 reps or more for each exercise. Yes, it is easier on the joints and in some cases does pump the muscle but does not contribute much to size, and in fact I tried it and lost size.

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Recently when I got out of the hospital I had dropped 30 lbs. of water and was weak so I had to use the light weights in order to get my strength back. I did this for a few months and when I looked at myself, my muscles were not filling out my skin. My skin looked loose and has never looked that way before.

The high reps and light weight really weren't doing much for me at all. I just returned from Hawaii and decided to go back to the heavier weights, and keep in mind I said heavier not heavy as to damage my joints. I just needed more resistance.

It's been 5 days now and I can see a noticable difference in muscle size and my skin filling out like it should. For some reason 7 reps has always been my go to number that worked for me.

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I go by instinct on how I feel and sometimes do two bodyparts and sometimes one but still hit each part hard. In my estimation the heavier weight is the way to go. Every once in a while you can do a high rep, light weight day but it won't give the same results.

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Don't be afraid to experiment with this method. You most likely will get some amazing results from it and remember, DIET IS KEY!

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