Intersting read: High rep-low weight vs low rep-high weight

Hi guys, this is high quality research and a good read for those interested. Obviously not meant to change anyones training practices drastically, just some food for thought. It's only one study, but still good stuff to think about.

Link to article:
http://jap.physiology.org/content/jap/121/1/129.full.pdf

Link to discussion of the article, bottom line break down of the conclusions if you don't want to read through the article.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/new-mcmaster-study-says-you-can-lift-small-and-get-big-1.3677384

Replies

  • dudebro200
    dudebro200 Posts: 97 Member
    Bodybuilders knew this a long time ago
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,879 Member
    Yeah...bodybuilders train higher rep, lower weight with volume...

    I've never heard to lift heavy for size...you lift heavy with low reps at a higher % of your 1 RM to maximize strength gains.
  • AnvilHead
    AnvilHead Posts: 18,344 Member
    I think it's worth emphasizing that both groups were exercising to volitional failure (inability to perform one more rep). So yes, hypertrophy can and does occur using lighter weights, but you have to push those lighter weights to (or near to) failure just as you do with heavy weights. Hopefully nobody will misconstrue the results of the study to believe that you're going to get hyooge by going in the gym and waving little pink dumbbells around. :)

    Personally, I find high rep sets more painful and I don't want to waste the time in the gym doing 30-50 rep sets when I could bump the weight up and do 6-12 rep sets instead.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,879 Member
    AnvilHead wrote: »
    I think it's worth emphasizing that both groups were exercising to volitional failure (inability to perform one more rep). So yes, hypertrophy can and does occur using lighter weights, but you have to push those lighter weights to (or near to) failure just as you do with heavy weights. Hopefully nobody will misconstrue the results of the study to believe that you're going to get hyooge by going in the gym and waving little pink dumbbells around. :)

    Personally, I find high rep sets more painful and I don't want to waste the time in the gym doing 30-50 rep sets when I could bump the weight up and do 6-12 rep sets instead.

    My trainer has me occasionally do 3x20...it's horrible!
  • AnvilHead
    AnvilHead Posts: 18,344 Member
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    AnvilHead wrote: »
    I think it's worth emphasizing that both groups were exercising to volitional failure (inability to perform one more rep). So yes, hypertrophy can and does occur using lighter weights, but you have to push those lighter weights to (or near to) failure just as you do with heavy weights. Hopefully nobody will misconstrue the results of the study to believe that you're going to get hyooge by going in the gym and waving little pink dumbbells around. :)

    Personally, I find high rep sets more painful and I don't want to waste the time in the gym doing 30-50 rep sets when I could bump the weight up and do 6-12 rep sets instead.

    My trainer has me occasionally do 3x20...it's horrible!

    I was going to add that it only takes a set or two of 20 rep squats to make you a believer, lol!
  • dudebro200
    dudebro200 Posts: 97 Member
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    AnvilHead wrote: »
    I think it's worth emphasizing that both groups were exercising to volitional failure (inability to perform one more rep). So yes, hypertrophy can and does occur using lighter weights, but you have to push those lighter weights to (or near to) failure just as you do with heavy weights. Hopefully nobody will misconstrue the results of the study to believe that you're going to get hyooge by going in the gym and waving little pink dumbbells around. :)

    Personally, I find high rep sets more painful and I don't want to waste the time in the gym doing 30-50 rep sets when I could bump the weight up and do 6-12 rep sets instead.

    My trainer has me occasionally do 3x20...it's horrible!

    High rep work takes too much time and it's boring.

    But it is safer, and I think that is the appeal
  • Rhody_Hoosier
    Rhody_Hoosier Posts: 688 Member
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    AnvilHead wrote: »
    I think it's worth emphasizing that both groups were exercising to volitional failure (inability to perform one more rep). So yes, hypertrophy can and does occur using lighter weights, but you have to push those lighter weights to (or near to) failure just as you do with heavy weights. Hopefully nobody will misconstrue the results of the study to believe that you're going to get hyooge by going in the gym and waving little pink dumbbells around. :)

    Personally, I find high rep sets more painful and I don't want to waste the time in the gym doing 30-50 rep sets when I could bump the weight up and do 6-12 rep sets instead.

    My trainer has me occasionally do 3x20...it's horrible!

    I recently swapped out 3 x 12 (boring old school) to 25x1, 20x1, 15x1, 10x1. It's challenging. And fun.
  • JB035
    JB035 Posts: 336 Member
    edited March 2017
    Depends if you're training to obtain a higher lactic threshold as well. Some people could care less to be able to move 185 for 20 reps with 1 min rest for like 5 sets and for some this is key to their sport.

    On the Brute Compete program, after a deload week, we would to come back and hit high reps for a max. For example We'd try and find a 15 rep max for back Squat or a 12 rep max for push press. Every 6 weeks we all would hit a PR on one if not multiple lifts.

    The rest of the time on Brute we stayed on a progressive loading strength program with a metcon each day.

  • se015
    se015 Posts: 583 Member
    fernt21 wrote: »
    Hi guys, this is high quality research and a good read for those interested. Obviously not meant to change anyones training practices drastically, just some food for thought. It's only one study, but still good stuff to think about.

    Link to article:
    http://jap.physiology.org/content/jap/121/1/129.full.pdf

    Link to discussion of the article, bottom line break down of the conclusions if you don't want to read through the article.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/new-mcmaster-study-says-you-can-lift-small-and-get-big-1.3677384

    So in the end are they saying each set of reps whether you go heavy or light, you should just always perform a set to ultimate failure? My question then is how many "sets" is enough? I mean if I rest 2-3 minutes I can do another set, sometimes it's a better performance? Just wanted to know if anyone could clarify this? I find when I do heavy sets it's easier to know when that failure is, but with lighter weights it's so many reps sometimes that while you're tired from endurance your muscles could probably lift more reps. It's strange how that works at least for me. Just wanted to hear some thoughts on these points.
  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 48,385 Member
    As a bodybuilder for most of my life, I've done reps in the range of 8-25 for hypertrophy. If one doesn't think they can get their legs to grow, doing sets of 20-25 reps for 4-5 sets with weight that challenging...................
    I vary my reps and usually do 12, 10, 8, 6 for for sets. But occasionally will do 4x25 reps for a month or so.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png
  • se015
    se015 Posts: 583 Member
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    As a bodybuilder for most of my life, I've done reps in the range of 8-25 for hypertrophy. If one doesn't think they can get their legs to grow, doing sets of 20-25 reps for 4-5 sets with weight that challenging...................
    I vary my reps and usually do 12, 10, 8, 6 for for sets. But occasionally will do 4x25 reps for a month or so.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png

    oh okay cool thanks for the advice, now I'm guessing when you do the 12,10, 8, 6 you up the weight each time, right?
  • GiddyupTim
    GiddyupTim Posts: 2,819 Member
    I've done those squat sets of 25-or-so reps. Those suck. But occasionally....
  • edickson76
    edickson76 Posts: 107 Member
    Seth1825 wrote: »
    So in the end are they saying each set of reps whether you go heavy or light, you should just always perform a set to ultimate failure? My question then is how many "sets" is enough? I mean if I rest 2-3 minutes I can do another set, sometimes it's a better performance? Just wanted to know if anyone could clarify this? I find when I do heavy sets it's easier to know when that failure is, but with lighter weights it's so many reps sometimes that while you're tired from endurance your muscles could probably lift more reps. It's strange how that works at least for me. Just wanted to hear some thoughts on these points.

    Per Eric Helms's Pyramid series on Youtube, the answer is that you adjust one of 3 variables: volume (=# of reps), intensity (= % of one rep max), and frequency (=# of workouts for that muscle group per week). So, if you lift light weights (meaning you lower intensity) then you should increase at least one of the other variables. Research also indicates that the ideal # of reps per workout is in the 40-70 range. He doesn't recommend training every set to failure because that tends to reduce the volume that your muscles are capable of. First episode of the series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWmchPCyDvw