Heavier weights or more reps?

suzr84
suzr84 Posts: 23 Member
I really enjoy Body Pump but I’m finding it difficult to fit in classes. I wondered if anyone could advise on whether it’s better to stick with lower weights/more reps or fewer reps but heavier weights. I’m debating wandering in to the free weights section in my local gym! Thanks.

Replies

  • goal06082021
    goal06082021 Posts: 2,111 Member
    Lower weights for more reps will help build endurance, higher weights for fewer reps will help build strength. What are you aiming for?
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,736 Member
    What's your primary goal: Functional strength for daily life, raw strength maximums, strength endurance, mass gain, appearance (if so specifically what?), etc.?

    That really matters.

    If goals are non-specific, any progressively challenging strength exercise "works", possibly works well. If specific goals matter, including things like time budget, or fun-to-you factor.

    What are you trying to achieve?
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,601 Member
    "Better" for what?
    People train for lots of different reasons and for very different goals. Better for me might not be better for you.

    "I’m debating wandering in to the free weights section in my local gym!"
    Why the debate? What are your pros and cons?
    Exclamation mark seems to suggest you think that's something unusual or special.
    If you explained what is stopping you from using some of your gym's facilities/equipment then maybe you might get reassurance.

    PS - if you find free weights, or the room where the free weights are located, intimidating (I'm guessing here....) then don't just wander in - walk in with a plan and a purpose.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,859 Member
    suzr84 wrote: »
    I really enjoy Body Pump but I’m finding it difficult to fit in classes. I wondered if anyone could advise on whether it’s better to stick with lower weights/more reps or fewer reps but heavier weights. I’m debating wandering in to the free weights section in my local gym! Thanks.

    Different rep protocols do different things...so "better" is relative to what you're trying to accomplish, as is volume. Functional strength and conditioning? Maximal Strength? Hypertrophy (muscle growth/size)? muscular endurance? At any rate, I would recommend a structured plan (there are a lot out there) rather than just wandering in and doing whatever...doing that is just going to leave you spinning your wheels and not accomplishing much of anything.

    In general, fewer reps with more weight is for strength...mid reps with mid weight (think reps in the 8-12 range) is for hypertrophy. Light weight and higher reps is most often used for training muscular endurance and also for metabolic conditioning type of work and with circuits. There is obviously crossover with different rep schemes. You also have to consider volume as it relates to your goals. For example, you can work in the hypertrophy range, but if your program does not provide adequate volume for hypertrophy, hypertrophy would be very, very slow...so it would be a bad hypertrophy program...but it might be a good program for building and maintaining functional strength. It all really comes down to what you're wanting to accomplish in the weight room.
  • age_is_just_a_number
    age_is_just_a_number Posts: 570 Member
    Depends on your goals.

    https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/hypertrophy-vs-strength

    increase muscle size —> hypertrophy training —> lighter weight and higher reps and sets
    increase muscle strength —> strength training —> heavier weight and fewer reps.

    For beginners and the average person ( I put myself in this category), it really doesn’t matter. It really only matters for professional athletes and body builders.

    Do what you prefer and enjoy and avoid injury.
  • nossmf
    nossmf Posts: 3,463 Member
    Why must you choose? My program has me do a bit of both. For example, week 1 might have:

    Bench Press 5x5
    DB Press 3x10

    Then week 2:

    DB Press 5x5
    Bench Press 3x10

    I get to work both heavier and higher reps. Keeps things fresh. Do I progress as fast as if I did only one type or the other? Nope. But I'm still getting results, always looking forward to my next gym sesh, and feeling good.
  • JBanx256
    JBanx256 Posts: 1,172 Member
    nossmf wrote: »
    Why must you choose? My program has me do a bit of both.

    Samesies. I may work up to a heavy triple for one movement and on the same day be hitting over 20 reps/set for another movement.

  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 46,171 Member
    Ah, it depends on your goals.

    I've been at this awhile so I only train each body part once a week and do a 12, 10, 8, 6 rep regimen while increasing the weight each set.
    I'm just trying to maintain what I have.

    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
  • ecjim
    ecjim Posts: 959 Member
    edited April 18
    Do Both - I do a 531 program - lower reps on the main movement - bench, squat etc. then follow it with higher reps on similar accessory movements
    Have you made it into the free weight room yet?
  • Silentpadna
    Silentpadna Posts: 1,305 Member
    Lots of good advice above. Yes, depends what you want to accomplish.

    Whatever you decide to do, you should track it and make sure you are doing some sort of progressive overload. You won't know if you are accomplishing that unless you track it.

    Hope you make it into the free weight room. Free weight room? Or Free weight room? Free is always good. :wink: