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    Registered User MGreene22's Avatar
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    High weight/low reps vs. Low weight/high reps

    I've always heard that heavy weight with low reps gains mass, and low weight with high reps gains definition. But then I heard someone tell me that isn't necessarily true. I have incorporated a mix of both into my workout routine, but was wondering if anyone could offer some more insight in this matter.
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    Registered User Jonnyg419's Avatar
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    A lot of that is myth, there is some reasoning behind why people say that but a lot of it doesn't hold water in real life. Very low reps actually train your nervous system more then they trigger muscle growth. 6-10 reps has been pretty much agreed upon as the golden zone for adding size. But a lot of it has to do with how the individual responds to certain stimulation. There are some bodybuilders who talk about doing their rep scheme in the 15-25 rep range for all muscle groups, then you have Dorian Yates type bodybuilders who put most of their effort into low volume low reps schemes that emphasize going till failure. It is all about finding what works for you.
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    Futurama Fanboy sharpieblet's Avatar
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    definition = low body fat. high reps with low weight do nothing to challenge the muscles compared to heavy weight. go heavy or go home. the only thing high reps with low weights might do for you is get the blood flowing and serve as some sort of first set warm up of sorts.

    i'd consider anything up to 12 reps, low reps. as long as you still struggle on the last couple reps. whatever rep range you're gonna use, just stick with it and work on progression. it takes years to find out what your body responds to the best, but even though you MAY be part of the minority that responds to insanely high reps, i think it'd be wiser and more efficient in starting with a more general rep range. kind of like choosing a routine, SOME people respond well to crazy routines, but that doesn't mean you should start out trying to use a crazy routine. keep it basic in the beginning, i can't think of anyone who WOULDN'T respond well to a basic routine with basic principles as long as their frequency/rest/diet was all in order.
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    Registered User fr0IVIan's Avatar
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    heavy weight + high reps = mass

    heavier weight + low reps = strength

    low weight + high reps (or + short rest) = pump

    low weight + low reps = why?
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    Futurama Fanboy sharpieblet's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by fr0IVIan View Post
    heavy weight + high reps = mass

    heavier weight + low reps = strength


    low weight + high reps (or + short rest) = pump

    low weight + low reps = why?
    that's always been the generalization, but it's important to emphasize that size WILL come with strength over time. it might not always be the FASTEST way to grow muscle, but in the end i would think it's kind of negligible. it's hard to have small legs when you can properly squat 500+ lbs.
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    Originally Posted by sharpieblet View Post
    that's always been the generalization, but it's important to emphasize that size WILL come with strength over time. it might not always be the FASTEST way to grow muscle, but in the end i would think it's kind of negligible. it's hard to have small legs when you can properly squat 500+ lbs.
    Wouldn't that depend on if your body is generally suited towards regularly-induced, high-intensity training?
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    i do both in the same week.i hit each muscle twice a week cause ive found that it works for me.the first day i do higher weight lower reps(8-10/failure) and the second day i do lower weight and higher reps(12-15/failure).
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    Originally Posted by MGreene22 View Post
    I've always heard that heavy weight with low reps gains mass, and low weight with high reps gains definition. But then I heard someone tell me that isn't necessarily true. I have incorporated a mix of both into my workout routine, but was wondering if anyone could offer some more insight in this matter.
    It really does depend on your body.

    But starting out, you dont want to gain mass and end up bloated.. Its harder to define at that point
    Pick a comfortable weight you can mad rep..enjoy the burn at high gear and definition will come.
    Shape what you got before adding more
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  9. #9
    Noble Savage IDrinkBloodLOL's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by onehandstand View Post
    It really does depend on your body.

    But starting out, you dont want to gain mass and end up bloated.. Its harder to define at that point
    Pick a comfortable weight you can mad rep..enjoy the burn at high gear and definition will come.
    Shape what you got before adding more
    Stats: 5'6", 105 lbs
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    As for the OP, this has been discussed so many times that I put a link in my sig to an article explaining it. I'd suggest you read it.
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    Banned onehandstand's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by IDrinkBloodLOL View Post
    Stats: 5'6", 105 lbs
    Advice: full retard
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    As for the OP, this has been discussed so many times that I put a link in my sig to an article explaining it. I'd suggest you read it.
    Lets see what your advice has done for yourself. I may be 105 lbs but i got more shreds in my forearm than you might have on your entire body. I'm rock solid u piece of ****
    The guys new.. You dont set him up to heavy weights

    Go tell Bruce Lee he was a retard and did not know his stuff
    Last edited by onehandstand; 07-09-2012 at 11:19 PM.
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    Originally Posted by onehandstand View Post
    Lets see what your advice has done for yourself. I may be 105 lbs but i got more shreds in my forearm than you might have on your entire body. I'm rock solid u piece of ****
    The guys new.. You dont set him up to heavy weights

    Go tell Bruce Lee he was a retard and did not know his stuff
    Bruce lee probably spent like 2 hours in the gym every day. That's more than most people can handle.
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    Originally Posted by onehandstand View Post
    Lets see what your advice has done for yourself. I may be 105 lbs but i got more shreds in my forearm than you might have on your entire body. I'm rock solid u piece of ****
    The guys new.. You dont set him up to heavy weights

    Go tell Bruce Lee he was a retard and did not know his stuff
    Your shredded forearms are not any indicator of your fitness level. If your really 105 lbs my forearm is as big your thigh and your not rock solid just a skinny phaggit
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  13. #13
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    Originally Posted by MGreene22 View Post
    I've always heard that heavy weight with low reps gains mass, and low weight with high reps gains definition.
    Old wives tale.

    Definition is a byproduct of muscle mass and body fat. Increase mass and/or lower body fat to increase definition.
    Originally Posted by IDrinkBloodLOL View Post
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    As for the OP, this has been discussed so many times that I put a link in my sig to an article explaining it. I'd suggest you read it.
    I lawled.
    Originally Posted by onehandstand View Post
    It really does depend on your body.

    But starting out, you dont want to gain mass and end up bloated.. Its harder to define at that point
    Pick a comfortable weight you can mad rep..enjoy the burn at high gear and definition will come.
    Shape what you got before adding more
    That advice really is bad.
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    well jim stoppanis shortcut to size does best of both worlds... u do 12-15 wk 1 then 9 12 reps week 2 6-9 week 3 6-3 week 4 3-6 then start again... so u ge low reps lifting heavy then do lot of reps...
    one rep max Goals:
    Bench: 80kg [x] 85 [x ] 90kg [x ] - 100kg [] 105kg [ ] 110kg [ ] 115kg [ ] 120kg [ ]
    Squat: 100kg [x ] - 120kg [x ] - 140kg [ ]- 150kg [ ] - 160kg [ ]
    Deadlift: 90kg [x] - 100kg [ ] - 110kg [ ] - 120kg [ ] - 140kg [ ]- 160kg [ ]
    OHP: 40kg [x] 45kg [x] 50 kg [x ] 55kg [x ] 60kg [ ] 65kg[ ] 70kg [ ]
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  15. #15
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    Originally Posted by hotsaucegolden1 View Post
    well jim stoppanis shortcut to size does best of both worlds... u do 12-15 wk 1 then 9 12 reps week 2 6-9 week 3 6-3 week 4 3-6 then start again... so u ge low reps lifting heavy then do lot of reps...
    What most people fail to understand is that your body adapts to averages, it can't store 2 different sets of adaptions, for example if you were to train with 3 sets of 5 reps followed by 3 sets of 15 reps your body will adapt to the average so you may as well perform 6 sets of 10 reps. Your body doesn't store a 5 rep adaption and a 15 rep adaption and switch between them at will.

    It's not the magic combination of low + high reps giving you the "best of both worlds", rather it's the simple fact that your average reps per set has increased from 5 to 10 which is much more beneficial for hypertrophy.

    Take a guy doing only 5 rep sets and get him to start doing 15 rep sets as well, his average rep range is now 10, he'll experience great hypertrophy. On the other hand take a guy doing only 15 rep sets and get him to start doing 5 rep sets as well, his average rep range is now 10, he'll also experience great hypertrophy.

    I'll say it one last time so it sinks in..........the reason why combining low rep + high rep training works better than standalone low rep training or standalone high rep training is because it either increases or decreases your average rep range to a more moderate number which is better for hypertrophy.

    6 sets of 10 reps is just as effective as 3 sets of 5 reps + 3 sets of 15 reps. The body adapts to averages. If you train with a moderate rep range to begin with you're getting the same results as someone who combines low rep + high rep training.
    Last edited by Kelei; 07-10-2012 at 03:43 AM.
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    Originally Posted by Kelei View Post
    What most people fail to understand is that your body adapts to averages, it can't store 2 different sets of adaptions, for example if you were to train with 3 sets of 5 reps followed by 3 sets of 15 reps your body will adapt to the average so you may as well perform 6 sets of 10 reps. Your body doesn't store a 5 rep adaption and a 15 rep adaption and switch between them at will.

    It's not the magic combination of low + high reps giving you the "best of both worlds", rather it's the simple fact that your average reps per set has increased from 5 to 10 which is much more beneficial for hypertrophy.

    Take a guy doing only 5 rep sets and get him to start doing 15 rep sets as well, his average rep range is now 10, he'll experience great hypertrophy. On the other hand take a guy doing only 15 rep sets and get him to start doing 5 rep sets as well, his average rep range is now 10, he'll also experience great hypertrophy.

    I'll say it one last time so it sinks in..........the reason why combining low rep + high rep training works better than standalone low rep training or standalone high rep training is because it either increases or decreases your average rep range to a more moderate number which is better for hypertrophy.

    6 sets of 10 reps is just as effective as 3 sets of 5 reps + 3 sets of 15 reps. The body adapts to averages. If you train with a moderate rep range to begin with you're getting the same results as someone who combines low rep + high rep training.
    Another great f*cking post by Kelei.

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  17. #17
    Registered User Miketoc's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Kelei View Post
    What most people fail to understand is that your body adapts to averages, it can't store 2 different sets of adaptions, for example if you were to train with 3 sets of 5 reps followed by 3 sets of 15 reps your body will adapt to the average so you may as well perform 6 sets of 10 reps. Your body doesn't store a 5 rep adaption and a 15 rep adaption and switch between them at will.

    It's not the magic combination of low + high reps giving you the "best of both worlds", rather it's the simple fact that your average reps per set has increased from 5 to 10 which is much more beneficial for hypertrophy.

    Take a guy doing only 5 rep sets and get him to start doing 15 rep sets as well, his average rep range is now 10, he'll experience great hypertrophy. On the other hand take a guy doing only 15 rep sets and get him to start doing 5 rep sets as well, his average rep range is now 10, he'll also experience great hypertrophy.

    I'll say it one last time so it sinks in..........the reason why combining low rep + high rep training works better than standalone low rep training or standalone high rep training is because it either increases or decreases your average rep range to a more moderate number which is better for hypertrophy.

    6 sets of 10 reps is just as effective as 3 sets of 5 reps + 3 sets of 15 reps. The body adapts to averages. If you train with a moderate rep range to begin with you're getting the same results as someone who combines low rep + high rep training.
    I do 10 sets of 1 rep and 1 set of 90 reps. It's the same as doing 10 sets of 10 reps...

    ...

    or not.
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    Originally Posted by Miketoc View Post
    I do 10 sets of 1 rep and 1 set of 90 reps. It's the same as doing 10 sets of 10 reps...

    ...

    or not.
    100 total reps, 11 total sets, 9.09 reps per set on average. The problem with your example is that 90 rep sets are too light to provide a proper stimulus, it's important to use some common sense and stick with lifting weights that are at least 60-70% or more of your 1 rep max. A more realistic example would be 5 sets of singles followed by 5 sets of 20 reps, this would give you close to 10 reps per set on average.

    Your body can't store multiple sets of adaptions, it has no choice but to adapt to the average of all stimulus.

    If any of this seems counterintuitive you should actually go and test this kind of thing, I already have many times with myself, my friends and guys I am helping out at the gym, the principle has held up to every test I've thrown at it so far.
    Last edited by Kelei; 07-10-2012 at 06:03 AM.
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    Originally Posted by fr0IVIan View Post
    heavier weight + low reps = strength
    If your goal is strength for low reps. Powerlifters goal is strength for low reps. If your strength goal is for a longer duration, low reps would be silly as the primary means.

    Originally Posted by Kelei View Post
    What most people fail to understand is that your body adapts to averages, it can't store 2 different sets of adaptions, for example if you were to train with 3 sets of 5 reps followed by 3 sets of 15 reps your body will adapt to the average so you may as well perform 6 sets of 10 reps. Your body doesn't store a 5 rep adaption and a 15 rep adaption and switch between them at will.

    It's not the magic combination of low + high reps giving you the "best of both worlds", rather it's the simple fact that your average reps per set has increased from 5 to 10 which is much more beneficial for hypertrophy.

    Take a guy doing only 5 rep sets and get him to start doing 15 rep sets as well, his average rep range is now 10, he'll experience great hypertrophy. On the other hand take a guy doing only 15 rep sets and get him to start doing 5 rep sets as well, his average rep range is now 10, he'll also experience great hypertrophy.

    I'll say it one last time so it sinks in..........the reason why combining low rep + high rep training works better than standalone low rep training or standalone high rep training is because it either increases or decreases your average rep range to a more moderate number which is better for hypertrophy.

    6 sets of 10 reps is just as effective as 3 sets of 5 reps + 3 sets of 15 reps. The body adapts to averages. If you train with a moderate rep range to begin with you're getting the same results as someone who combines low rep + high rep training.
    I'd say you identified one reason (averages) as to why combining low rep + high rep works better than standalone, but not the only reason. Some fibers require a certain duration to be exhausted. If maximum fiber exhaustion is the goal, one best rep range isn't going to do it. If averages was the answer, it would. (Seemed like you were implying that, not sure if you are)
    Nearly every bodybuilder uses multiple ranges, though it would be easier to just pick an average (say 10) and go. Though don't.
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    Originally Posted by cavalryrs View Post
    Your shredded forearms are not any indicator of your fitness level. If your really 105 lbs my forearm is as big your thigh and your not rock solid just a skinny phaggit
    hahahaha Fitness level ? Yoiu realise the fitness of someone whos 105lbs is too much for you to understand.

    I dont give a **** how thick your forearm is.. Fitness is pulling out every muscle in your body which i did.. or almost did.. Fitness is flexibility

    Bruce lee went from 125-160 then lost it all to stay skinny.. Power does not come from size you f@gg0t and its been proven.. And size does not make your physique look better than crisp lines..

    Originally Posted by GeneralSerpant View Post
    Bruce lee probably spent like 2 hours in the gym every day. That's more than most people can handle.
    3 hours training. 5 days a week And not 3 hour straight

    And here i thought i was entering a mature bodybuilding community haha .. Keep trollin and postin looser.. ima rip some more muscle
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    Originally Posted by Orlando1234977 View Post
    If your goal is strength for low reps. Powerlifters goal is strength for low reps. If your strength goal is for a longer duration, low reps would be silly as the primary means.



    I'd say you identified one reason (averages) as to why combining low rep + high rep works better than standalone, but not the only reason. Some fibers require a certain duration to be exhausted. If maximum fiber exhaustion is the goal, one best rep range isn't going to do it. If averages was the answer, it would. (Seemed like you were implying that, not sure if you are)
    Nearly every bodybuilder uses multiple ranges, though it would be easier to just pick an average (say 10) and go. Though don't. (Seemed like you were implying that, not sure if you are)

    Yes but nearly every bodybuilder does multiply rep ranges.. it would be easier to just pick an average, they have found it to not be as effective.
    When you factor in physical changes to motor units and muscle fibers themselves in response to training it becomes perfectly clear. Performing high rep sets will convert your 2B fibers to 2A fibers.

    So if you perform singles for your 2B fibers and higher reps for your 2A/slow fibers you need to understand that because you're performing these high rep sets your 2B fibers will convert to 2A fibers, in this case singles are no longer optimal for training them.

    This is one of the priamary reasons why I don't believe in low rep ranges for bodybuilding because if you're also performing high rep work you're converting your 2B fibers to 2A fibers which reduces the benefit of low rep work, the 2A fibers respond best to moderate rep ranges.
    Last edited by Kelei; 07-10-2012 at 06:48 AM.
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    Originally Posted by onehandstand View Post
    hahahaha Fitness level ? Yoiu realise the fitness of someone whos 105lbs is too much for you to understand.

    I dont give a **** how thick your forearm is.. Fitness is pulling out every muscle in your body which i did.. or almost did.. Fitness is flexibility

    Bruce lee went from 125-160 then lost it all to stay skinny.. Power does not come from size you f@gg0t and its been proven.. And size does not make your physique look better than crisp lines..



    3 hours training. 5 days a week And not 3 hour straight

    And here i thought i was entering a mature bodybuilding community haha .. Keep trollin and postin looser.. ima rip some more muscle
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    Originally Posted by onehandstand View Post
    hahahaha Fitness level ? Yoiu realise the fitness of someone whos 105lbs is too much for you to understand.

    I dont give a **** how thick your forearm is.. Fitness is pulling out every muscle in your body which i did.. or almost did.. Fitness is flexibility

    Bruce lee went from 125-160 then lost it all to stay skinny.. Power does not come from size you f@gg0t and its been proven.. And size does not make your physique look better than crisp lines..



    3 hours training. 5 days a week And not 3 hour straight

    And here i thought i was entering a mature bodybuilding community haha .. Keep trollin and postin looser.. ima rip some more muscle

    it's silly of you to join a bodybuilding forum and think that being 100 lbs (even if you are ripped-not taking that away from you) is something to use as 'proof' that you know what you're talking about. your diet had a lot more to do with your definition, not your rep range. but you certainly did give terrible, black and white advice.
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    Originally Posted by onehandstand View Post
    Power does not come from size you f@gg0t and its been proven..
    Is that why they have weight classes in every combative sport, power lifting, weight lifting, etc. Size will definitely effect a person's strength and power. At 105 lbs you'd have little chance fighting a 250lb man (a fairly well built man, not just a fat one) even if you were well trained in fighting and he was not.

    Originally Posted by onehandstand
    And size does not make your physique look better than crisp lines..
    And being 200lbs with crisp lines looks better than 105lbs with crisp lines. Bodybuilding is about creating a well-developed and symmetrical physique. By staying at 105lbs you are neither well-developed nor symmetrical. You simply have low body fat which is important but only a small part of the overall picture.
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    Originally Posted by onehandstand View Post
    And here i thought i was entering a mature bodybuilding community haha
    Originally Posted by onehandstand View Post
    Keep trollin and postin looser.. ima rip some more muscle
    Oh, the irony.
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    Originally Posted by onehandstand View Post
    Power does not come from size you f@gg0t and its been proven. You realise the fitness of someone whos 105lbs is too much for you to understand.
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    Originally Posted by Kelei View Post
    When you factor in physical changes to motor units and muscle fibers themselves in response to training it becomes perfectly clear. Performing high rep sets will convert your 2B fibers to 2A fibers.

    So if you perform singles for your 2B fibers and higher reps for your 2A/slow fibers you need to understand that because you're performing these high rep sets your 2B fibers will convert to 2A fibers, in this case singles are no longer optimal for training them.

    This is one of the priamary reasons why I don't believe in low rep ranges for bodybuilding because if you're also performing high rep work you're converting your 2B fibers to 2A fibers which reduces the benefit of low rep work, the 2A fibers respond best to moderate rep ranges.
    Also via the size principle, larger fibers are used towards the end of the set, and can be exhausted after several sets. (As you know) But it's still not quite as effective as working them directly through low reps, but agree it's overly thought of as the only way too work them on here.

    As far as converting, 2B to 2A, surely we save some for explosive movements, are you thinking most are converted? Rough timetable?
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    Originally Posted by Orlando1234977 View Post
    As far as converting, 2B to 2A, surely we save some for explosive movements, are you thinking most are converted? Rough timetable?
    If your 2B fibers are fatigued they will convert towards a 2A fiber, the degree of fatigue they experience will determine the degree of their conversion. If you were to train with 20 rep sets and take the sets near failure (to recruit all fibers via the RE method) your 2B fibers would possibly convert almost fully to 2A fibers, if you were to train with perhaps 8 reps per set they may only half convert and you'd end up with a bunch of fibers that were basically somewhere between a 2B and 2A fiber.

    The point is that your fibers (and motor units + nervous system) adapt very specifically to the type of training you do. If you train with 5 rep sets your fibers will try to adapt as best as they can for optimal performance during 5 rep sets, if you train with 20 rep sets they will try to adapt for optimal performance during 20 rep sets etc. Although it's not as simple as merely looking at the number of reps per set, everything needs to be considered (rep tempo and rest between sets etc).

    I'm sure you're aware that olympic lifters have the best 40 yard dash times in the world, it's due to their low rep (and low fatigue) training, this prevents excessive 2B to 2A conversion which reduces maximal power. Sprinters are faster over 100m because they have better strength endurance, they can maintain a high level of power output longer than an olympic lifter can (even though their maximal power is lower than olympic lifters).

    In regards to the body saving 2B fibers for explosive movements I don't believe that such a thing occurs, the body can't store two different sets of adaptions, i.e one for power and one for endurance.

    As for a timetable I assume the process is slow and gradual (just as gaining strength and hypertrophy are also gradual processes). However I do know that detraining occurs very rapidly, 2B fibers which have converted to 2A fibers will convert back to 2B fibers very quickly if you cut back on your training.

    A lot of athletes use this to their advantage when they deload prior to a competition, some of their 2A fibers will start to convert back to 2B fibers. The maximal strength and power increases obtained from this 2A to 2B conversion outweigh the maximal strength and power losses that come about as a result of not training, so the net effect is that you can actually increase your maximal strength and power over the short term if you deload before a competition (powerlifting or olympic lifting etc). If you deload for too long though your rate of performance loss from detraining will outweigh the performance increases obtained from 2A to 2B conversion. There's an art to it and a very fine line that you have to flaunt with.

    Your body doesn't simply recover from your training in some generic fashion, it tries as best as it can to adapt very specifically to the training you perform so that it gets better and better at it (the SAID principle at its simplest). For example both 3 rep sets and 10 rep sets cause microtrauma to your muscle fibers, while most people assume that recovery is recovery this isn't the case, when you perform 3 rep sets your body will try to recover/adapt in a very specific way so that it gets better at performing 3 rep sets, if you perform 10 rep sets your body will try to recover/adapt to get better for 10 rep sets. Of course there's carryover, often increasing your 3RM will also increase your 10RM and vice versa, however once you begin to approach the elite level you need to get very specific with your training. Could you imagine what would happen if the best olympic lifters in the world started using sets of 15 reps in addition to their usual training? I'm willing to bet my life that they'd lose strength/power.

    Hahaha I'm starting to rave on a bit here and I'm getting off-topic so I'll stop.
    Last edited by Kelei; 07-10-2012 at 12:16 PM.
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    I love people who weigh less than a runway model that brag about having abs. Abs on a skinny dude is like tits on a fat chick.

    If you are looking to achieve the skeletor on heroin look, congrats, you've achieved it.

    Now gtfo, and eat a sandwich or 8.
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    Originally Posted by Kelei View Post
    I'm sure you're aware that olympic lifters have the best 40 yard dash times in the world,
    I have never seen a real source for this claim, only people quoting a Fred Hatfield post where he mentions this scientific test being done during the Mexico City Olympics in 1964, despite the Olympics being in Tokyo that year.
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