When it comes to lifting weights, one common question is whether it is better to lift heavier a couple of times or lighter dumbbells 25 times? Of course, when you look around at the gym, you will see the men doing the first, lifting heavy weights while the women are curling 6 to 10 lb ones repeatedly. Normally, their purposes also vary, with men doing it to gain muscle and increase strength. The women normally just want to tone their arms.
The Best To Use Both High And Low Repetitions In Your Workout
It is not that clear cut, though, in fact, it is best to use both high and low repetitions in your workout if you want to achieve your goal of building muscle, losing fat or to improve overall fitness. While they both will eventually help you reach your objectives, the optimal range of repetition is actually within the range of 8 to 15 reps.
This is due to the interrelationship existing between endurance and strength, represented in a continuum between the weight of the lifts, the number of repetitions and the outcome of the training. Strength is the maximum weight that one can lift at a time. On the other hand, the ability for one to apply force over and over again for a certain amount of time is endurance. As one increases the number of repetitions, he/she begins to build endurance instead of strength.
Different kinds of exercise will not activate the same types of muscles. High repetitions actually develop your slow twitch muscles or Type 1 muscle fibers. These will take much longer to get fatigued. On the other hand, lower reps will activate fast twitch muscles or Type 2 muscle fibers. These are stronger but get tired more quickly.
What is then the best program?
Those who are looking to build strength should definitely stick to lifting heavier weights with fewer repetitions. This is what the Power Lifters training adhere to.
On the other hand, if you are looking to lose weight, it is not as simple. You should take note that diet still makes up 80% of weight loss. Exercise comprises only the rest. One would lose the same number of kilos if they did heavy weights or cardio. However, lifters lost fat while those who did cardio reduced muscle and fat. It is not clear, though, whether high or low reps burn more fat. Studies are now proving that it is the intensity of the workout that makes a difference in the end. It means, the proper diet with consistent exercises that pushes you to your limit is the way to really lose fat.
When it comes to building muscles, there is also no clear consensus. Some research points to both low and high reps being successful. However, diet seems to come into play, you would need to take in more calories than you burn. Otherwise, you will not be able to increase your muscle mass. Instead, you are more likely to build strength.
When it comes to achieving specific goals, it is always best to work with a trainer and a nutritionist. After all, both diet and exercise go together and both play a huge role in your fitness. It is only then that you can find the right balance between how heavy and how often you should be lifting.