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High reps vs low reps

jswigartjswigart Posts: 160Member Member Posts: 160Member Member
I have read that you can gain muscle with high repetition lifting with light weight until exhaustion and do as well as low repetition with heavy weights.
I am thinking about switching to this method for safety reasons.
I work out by myself and don’t have a spotter. I am 63years old.
Any suggestions or opinions are requested and welcome.
Thanks jay 💪
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Replies

  • richlnrichln Posts: 811Member Member Posts: 811Member Member
    Similar muscle gains yes, but your high-weight strength (up near your 1-rep max) will drop. Training to failure on light weight is also pretty taxing and not very enjoyable IMO. You can still make good hypertrophy progress even on submax effort 10-15 rep as long as the consistency and progressive overload is there. May need to include more sets than you are currently accustomed to. I don't do much heavy lifting myself anymore. Has not had much of an effect on my physique progress.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28834797
  • jswigartjswigart Posts: 160Member Member Posts: 160Member Member
    That is where I am too Richln, at my age I find it very difficult to gain much muscle mass. I love workouts, it makes me feel alive. As I begin adding more calorie and protein intake all I seem to see is fat accumulating around my waist and not much muscle mass in my arms etc. I hate that feeling of fat around my waist.
  • jswigartjswigart Posts: 160Member Member Posts: 160Member Member
    Thanks Joemac, Good information.
  • jswigartjswigart Posts: 160Member Member Posts: 160Member Member
    Thanks for the charts Psulemon.
  • richlnrichln Posts: 811Member Member Posts: 811Member Member
    jswigart wrote: »
    That is where I am too Richln, at my age I find it very difficult to gain much muscle mass. I love workouts, it makes me feel alive. As I begin adding more calorie and protein intake all I seem to see is fat accumulating around my waist and not much muscle mass in my arms etc. I hate that feeling of fat around my waist.

    Unfortunately at your age muscle growth will be a very slow process relative to a younger man. Are you getting any targeted hypertrophy work in on your arms? Keeping your surplus low (like on the order of 200 cals/day or less over maintenance) will help to minimize fat gains, but you will still gain some fat during a bulk even if you do everything perfectly. What are your macros like? Science suggests naturals only need up to a max of 0.82 g/lb bodyweight protein during bulk, but I would recommend you get protein intake around 1 g/lb bodyweight because of your age. Are you getting a good amount of carbs in?
  • jswigartjswigart Posts: 160Member Member Posts: 160Member Member
    Yes, I have been shooting for 200 cal over maintenance. I’m not great at watching macros, I will try to start that. I have always done well just watching calories. I have been trying to get as much protein as possible but haven’t really measured it. I don’t have any trouble getting carbs. Ha ha.
  • Tic78Tic78 Posts: 124Member Member Posts: 124Member Member
    Nothing to add about high or low reps but wanted to say that I think maybe your to hard on yourself about building muscle or the way you perceive yourself.

    On the before/after pic thread your results are outstanding! Regardless of age which just makes it even more impressive!

    Keep up the good work 💪
  • jswigartjswigart Posts: 160Member Member Posts: 160Member Member
    Thank You 😀
  • ChieflrgChieflrg Posts: 7,129Member Member Posts: 7,129Member Member
    The chart posted in the first response is pretty good info.

    The fact is training has alot of factors. Age, experience, gender, how responsive or resistant to training one is, health, etc.

    If you want hypertrophy, you will need the calories. Protien at your age should be just a tad over 1g/1lb bw for a catch all for optimal results.

    You can/will achieve hypertrophy with lower reps/higher intensity. Higher reps/lower intensity works well for most. One still needs adequate volume at a useful intensity to achieve strength and hypertrophy. How you get there has more to do with the individual on how he/she responds to programming.

    Personally I'm 49 years old, 6'3", 236 lbs currently. I stay in the 5-7 rep schemes with a couple left in tank because my goal is strength of one rep max for competing in powerlifting. I respond well at that intensity and it drives my strength and hypertrophy enough. I very rarely venture out into higher reps because I will lose strength closer to my one rep max which wouldn't fair well for me. That being said I'm a pretty decent size man for just training primarily for strength.

    Another thing to consider is driving your strength allows you to lift heavier reps for hypertrophy.

    Another way to drive hypertrophy is to set a timer for 6 minutes and just do AMRAP with one or two in tank while holding good form. This will build volume and autoregulate itself. Logging data will show you what intensity you thrive at.

    Good luck, hope you find this useful in some way.

    edited September 13
  • jswigartjswigart Posts: 160Member Member Posts: 160Member Member
    Thanks for taking the time to help j
  • CowboySarCowboySar Posts: 312Member Member Posts: 312Member Member
    Just my 2 cents, make sure your in a surplus and watching your macros. There will be a lot of differing opinions on optimum macros but I feel they are somewhat dependent on the person. Trial and error and find what works for you. For example I am roughly 3300 cals 300 carb, 300 pro, 80 fat. I adjust as my body tells me I need to.

    One program I have been on now for 16 weeks is Layne Nortons PHAT program. It mixes both strength and hypertrophy. It is a lot if your not used to it but I have made some pretty good progress on it along with my nutrition. Strength in my opinion is just as important as size, as it builds the foundation that will support you growth wants or needs.
  • Keto_VampireKeto_Vampire Posts: 605Member Member Posts: 605Member Member
    @psuLemon for the great visual aid
    Not much to add, but if you are training for hypertrophy, you might want to include both low & high rep range sets in your regimen. Many ways you can rotate things if hitting each body part 2X/week...ex) squat for reps (12-15) on leg day 1, 2nd leg day, squat for strength (6 reps/set).

    I'm not too crazy about strength lifts myself (like you due to injury risk), but I still do 2-3 strength exercises per session (6-9 sets) and about 2/3rds sets in the moderate (8-12) to high (15+) rep range
    edited September 13
  • ChieflrgChieflrg Posts: 7,129Member Member Posts: 7,129Member Member
    @psuLemon for the great visual aid
    Not much to add, but if you are training for hypertrophy, you might want to include both low & high rep range sets in your regimen. Many ways you can rotate things if hitting each body part 2X/week...ex) squat for reps (12-15) on leg day 1, 2nd leg day, squat for strength (6 reps/set).

    I'm not too crazy about strength lifts myself(like you due to injury risk) but I still do 2-3 strength exercises per session (6-9 sets) and about 2/3rds sets in the moderate (8-12) to high (15+) rep range

    Not to attack you but...but injury risk is pretty much non existent if using proper form with good programming. Example powerlifting is statistically one of the safest sports a person can do and alot of the programming is based on strength.
    edited September 13
  • richlnrichln Posts: 811Member Member Posts: 811Member Member
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    @psuLemon for the great visual aid
    Not much to add, but if you are training for hypertrophy, you might want to include both low & high rep range sets in your regimen. Many ways you can rotate things if hitting each body part 2X/week...ex) squat for reps (12-15) on leg day 1, 2nd leg day, squat for strength (6 reps/set).

    I'm not too crazy about strength lifts myself(like you due to injury risk) but I still do 2-3 strength exercises per session (6-9 sets) and about 2/3rds sets in the moderate (8-12) to high (15+) rep range

    Not to attack you but...but injury risk is pretty much non existent if using proper form with good programming. Example powerlifting is statistically one of the safest sports a person can do and alot of the programming is based on strength.

    I don't think that "pretty much non existent" tells the whole story here though. Depending on what study you are looking at, competitive bodybuilding injury rates are around 0.2-1/1000 hours while competitive powerlifting rates are around 1-4/1000 hours, and injury rates for subelite powerlifters are at the high end of the spectrum
    https://www.reddit.com/r/bodybuilding/comments/39ef2z/til_the_injury_rate_for_competitive_bodybuilding/
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5954586/
    Both are relatively low compared to many other sports, but typical bodybuilding injuries are also much less traumatic than typical powerlifting injuries. I blew my hammy with a grade 2 strain this year, blew a pec with a grade 2 a few years ago, and herniated a disc in my lumbar a few years ago as well. Those all happened during heavy lifts, in the middle of planned 5-rep sets. Not at the end of the set where form might be getting a little sloppy. You don't usually hear about that level of injury happening while using lighter weights. I don't have the statistics to support that, so you can dismiss my n=1 if you want but tendons, joints, and recovery capabilities do diminish with age and there is so much more that can go wrong when you are lifting 500 lbs compared to when you are lifting 250 lbs.

    But back to the OP, he said he wants to get away from heavy lifts because he doesn't have a spotter so this is really a moot point. I agree that at least a little bit of heavy lifting is optimal even if he does not care about strength at all, but it is not necessary to make good hypertrophy progress.
  • Riff1970Riff1970 Posts: 96Member Member Posts: 96Member Member
    Lighter weights with higher reps work for me. My goal is hypertrophy and keep my reps mostly up in the 8-20 range. I need that pump.

    I'll throw in higher weight with low reps for a few weeks just to change it up and get some variety but my joints don't always like that.

    I always make sure to try to get 1 more rep or a few more pounds on the bar from the last workout.

    Do you use a workout app? There's no way I can remember every exercise, weight, and rep from last workout. I use an app called Strong. I log every rep and weight and try to beat it next time.

    Also, I don't believe in leaving anything in the tank. I go up to failure every set. I work out by myself so I don't go past failure, but I know I cannot do another rep when I'm done. I feel like I wasted the set if I leave something in the tank. Full out every set! As long as my form is holding up, I'm going for it!
  • Grambo54Grambo54 Posts: 62Member Member Posts: 62Member Member
    At 63 you can hurt yourself. Im 64 and Im super careful now. At 25 you can hurt yourself too, as I did, a few times. But at 63 recovery from injury will take longer, a lot longer, and you might have that weakness for good. So, dont take any risks. If, for example, youre benching and dont have a spotter, well push within a weight you know you can make that last rep. We all know what that is. Then quickly strip weights off and push a light weight to failure. Its safe and exhausts the muscle if thats what you want. Or use a bench press machine if you have one. Theres always work arounds. Theres always a way to work safely and to maximum effect on youe own.
  • Keto_VampireKeto_Vampire Posts: 605Member Member Posts: 605Member Member
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    @psuLemon for the great visual aid
    Not much to add, but if you are training for hypertrophy, you might want to include both low & high rep range sets in your regimen. Many ways you can rotate things if hitting each body part 2X/week...ex) squat for reps (12-15) on leg day 1, 2nd leg day, squat for strength (6 reps/set).

    I'm not too crazy about strength lifts myself(like you due to injury risk) but I still do 2-3 strength exercises per session (6-9 sets) and about 2/3rds sets in the moderate (8-12) to high (15+) rep range

    Not to attack you but...but injury risk is pretty much non existent if using proper form with good programming. Example powerlifting is statistically one of the safest sports a person can do and alot of the programming is based on strength.
    Yeah, weight lifting is nothing compared to contact sports when form is good.
  • ChieflrgChieflrg Posts: 7,129Member Member Posts: 7,129Member Member
    richln wrote: »
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    @psuLemon for the great visual aid
    Not much to add, but if you are training for hypertrophy, you might want to include both low & high rep range sets in your regimen. Many ways you can rotate things if hitting each body part 2X/week...ex) squat for reps (12-15) on leg day 1, 2nd leg day, squat for strength (6 reps/set).

    I'm not too crazy about strength lifts myself(like you due to injury risk) but I still do 2-3 strength exercises per session (6-9 sets) and about 2/3rds sets in the moderate (8-12) to high (15+) rep range

    Not to attack you but...but injury risk is pretty much non existent if using proper form with good programming. Example powerlifting is statistically one of the safest sports a person can do and alot of the programming is based on strength.

    I don't think that "pretty much non existent" tells the whole story here though. Depending on what study you are looking at, competitive bodybuilding injury rates are around 0.2-1/1000 hours while competitive powerlifting rates are around 1-4/1000 hours, and injury rates for subelite powerlifters are at the high end of the spectrum
    https://www.reddit.com/r/bodybuilding/comments/39ef2z/til_the_injury_rate_for_competitive_bodybuilding/
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5954586/
    Both are relatively low compared to many other sports, but typical bodybuilding injuries are also much less traumatic than typical powerlifting injuries. I blew my hammy with a grade 2 strain this year, blew a pec with a grade 2 a few years ago, and herniated a disc in my lumbar a few years ago as well. Those all happened during heavy lifts, in the middle of planned 5-rep sets. Not at the end of the set where form might be getting a little sloppy. You don't usually hear about that level of injury happening while using lighter weights. I don't have the statistics to support that, so you can dismiss my n=1 if you want but tendons, joints, and recovery capabilities do diminish with age and there is so much more that can go wrong when you are lifting 500 lbs compared to when you are lifting 250 lbs


    But back to the OP, he said he wants to get away from heavy lifts because he doesn't have a spotter so this is really a moot point. I agree that at least a little bit of heavy lifting is optimal even if he does not care about strength at all, but it is not necessary to make good hypertrophy progress.

    Do we know what the programming and form was like is the question since that what my statement was based on? I said it was safe compared to other sports, not that they won't happen.

    Perhaps you had off form or sub par programming at the time. Sometimes people just unravel for many reasons and I would hazard most injuries have less to do with the amount of weight on the bar, and more to do with how they managed the weight since the number is relative to one's strength. People taking enhancements isnt exactly friendly to the tendons/joints as ypu will find quite frequently with bodybuilders and powerlifting.

    As far as age is concerned, strength training has more benefits and out weigh any excuse not to. Its proven that it extends the quality of life for those of advanced age. Lifting heavy at a useful intensity with good form should not be a red flag.

    Also I have a some knowledge of tendons and joints with recovery since I have a autoimmune disease that is the cause of rapid deterioration of both and causes much pain and swelling 24/7 at age 49.

    Yet, since lifting on the heavy side of strength training with proper programming and form, I'm no longer walking with a cane or I haven't been in a in a wheel chair for 7 years other than operations. I lifted sucessfully all these years with a herniated disc with no problems for recovery. Somehow I managed to break many state records in powerlifting and considered stronger than the majority of my age all without one major injury during training or meets many of those years while playing other sports competitively as well.

    Mind you this is me, one person...not much data here from this example. But if you feel your experience is valid, mine would be just as much, no?

    Have a good day :).
    edited September 14
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