The question is like the classic query, “what came first, egg, or the chicken?” If you are regular in the weight room of the gym, you probably have been hit million times with this question.
However, there is no particular solution to the problem. You may have to tangle between lift heavy or do more reps. Each of them comes with pros and cons that add more complexity.
Here, we strive for a balanced solution to this classic weight room problem. You can easily decide the best one based on the fitness goal. Thus, without making further ado, let’s move into this dilemma.
Is it better to lift heavy or do more reps? Truth Revealed
1. Fitness Plateau – where it all starts
During the strength training, you reach a status where everything seems stopped. Your body already adapted to the training program, and you are no longer making any progress.
This dreaded no man’s land is a nightmare for any personal trainer and trainee. All the confusion and self-questioning starts from this fitness plateau. Whether you should begin to lifting heavy weights or increase reps per set?
Which way you should go depends on your fitness goal. Lose weight will require a route that is entirely opposite of the route to building the strength of the muscle.
After spending long sessions with fitness trainers, we have rounded up both the pros and cons of lifting heavier weight and high reps. You need to make a balance after talking to your personal trainer or gym instructor.
2. Lift Heavy with fewer reps
When you focus on the heavier weight, the number of reps need to be cut short. Typically, the rep ranges from 1 to 5. The whole combination may not seem very significant. Still, it can significantly enhance your strength and the capacity of weight you can lift.
Lifting heavy weight looks fantastic and makes you feel great in the gym. Moreover, they are highly effective for muscle fibers. You will see the difference in your strength.
A low number of reps also retain energy. As a result, you will feel like a superhero pretty soon.
Here is the catch: pretty soon, you will also run into a wall while chasing the number of weights. At a certain point, you cannot add up any more weight; otherwise, it will cause a severe injury.
If you still push it more, it can quickly ruin your form. If you see any change in your form, it will be wise to drop the weight to the last milestone.
3. More Reps with lightweight
It is evident that higher weight with lower reps will give you more strength. A recent study in 2016 has found this relation. Believe it or not, higher reps with lightweight comes with substantial physical benefits.
If the heavyweight is enhancing strength, the higher reps with lighter weight are building more muscles. End of the day, it’s your body that is getting the benefits.
Muscle building or hypertrophy makes you stronger; however, in a different way than gaining strength. You are having more ‘muscular endurance,’ which keeps you going on longer than ever before. You will get tired less frequently and after a long span of exercise.
According to the 2015 study, 8 to 12 reps per set is highly effective when you are lifting lightweight. What will happen when we reach the Plateau? Well, you have the scope to lift more weight while keeping an eye on form and technique.
The workout time will be longer than before. Nevertheless, you will gain a unique mind-muscle combination where you are in control of which muscle group to train.
4. Periodization training- The solution lies in the common ground
It looks like both heavyweight-low reps and lightweight-more reps have some unique benefits. None of them can be avoided if you want to strengthen and grow muscle mass. So, what to do now?
The solution lies in the common ground between both patterns. It will be most effective if you can combine both in your gym training. Switching among reps, sets, and weights can make a near-perfect combination for a formed and firm body structure.
Suppose you are doing 5 sets of 5 bench presses every other day. If you can drop weight, do it. Go for 5 sets of 8 with lighter weight. On an alternate day, add weight and do 5 sets of 8.
Do you see how it looks? To me, it’s like a wave with highs and lows. But what it carries is a sweeter outcome.
This mix and match pattern also has a psychological impact. The same weight and the same number of reps are dull. Besides, they are sometimes motivating, especially when you reach the fitness plateau.
Therefore, like a new cuisine on the weekend night, this mixed pattern in the common group will add some spice in your fitness routine and goal.
The magic of fitness is not in the reps and weight. In fact, the magic lies in your mind. When it makes a bond with the muscle, it creates something awesome.
Either you pick more weight or do more reps, there is no right or wrong. As long as it is working for you, keep it on. However, it is always great to mix things up.
If you really want to do the spice up, do it slowly and in increment. Add weight or increase reps slowly but steadily. Your objective should be to extract the significant results from smaller actions. There cannot be anything greater than this.
The best thing is, this combination of weight and reps will give you time to warm up and cool down. A slow compilation of weight will prepare your body for some rigorous task. On the contrary, higher reps will give the muscles enough rest for the next big day.
Do not forget about motivation. Only a motivated trainee in the gym can gain muscles. So why are you waiting? Dive into this middle ground to make an orchestration of muscles tuned with the tone of the brain.