01 Sep How Many Reps Should You Do?
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Since the beginning of workout time a law existed that if you wanted to be more “toned” you did more reps with lighter weights, if you wanted more size you did heavier weights and fewer reps. That eventually was boiled down to a more specific rep range for strength, hypertrophy (size), and endurance. If you want to get super-technical, you can study periodization training for sports which divides workouts in various phases – anatomical adaptation, hypertrophy, maximum strength, conversion, competitive and transition. But for the average trainee looking to maximize results, you should train with low reps, medium reps and high reps according to this article by David Dellanave at www.dellanave.com.
“Anecdotally, I can tell you that the single fastest way to jump start someone’s flatlined progress, if they have always been training in a particular rep range, is to change it up. A perennial 5-3-1 lifter can start making almost astonishing gains when they start including 8, 12, and 20 rep sets.”
The point being that, a person who lifts “heavy” – set 1 (5 reps), set 2 (3 reps), set 3 (1 rep) – will plateau. So what’s a potential solution? Ease up on the weights and do more reps. It will work the muscles in a different way and recruit different muscle fibers without having to go cold turkey giving up a workout. Moreover, it will give the overused muscle fibers less of a workload and some ability to recover. Changing up rep ranges can done in different ways – switch the rep range every workout, every week or couple of weeks, etc. Or if, for example, your preferred rep range is 8-12 reps, you could do that for 4 weeks, then a week of high reps, back to your preferred rep range for 4 weeks, then a week of more weight and lower reps. The combinations are many and there is no one magic formula – it will be based on your preferences and what method is achieving results.
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