Excessive Reps vs Low Reps: Which Is Finest For Coaching?

One of many largest debates within the health trade is whether or not it is best to carry out low reps or excessive reps. In my skilled opinion, it is best to do each. And, embrace heavy singles and ultra-high reps on prime of that.

It is necessary to do each as a result of each rep vary has a profit. So to completely enhance each side of your health degree, it is advisable to carry out each rep vary to completely unlock your entire energy and muscle-building potential. So, for those who’re interested by what the advantages and variations are between excessive reps vs low reps, you have come to the proper place!

Questioning if you have to be doing 5 reps or 15? I am about to clarify what to do and why.

Desk of Contents:

  • What Are Rep Ranges?
  • How To Use Low Reps For Muscle Energy & Muscle Progress
  • Excessive Reps vs Low Reps For Muscular Endurance
  • Finest & Worst Workouts With Varied Rep Ranges
  • Excessive Reps vs Low Reps For Fats Loss
  • Excessive Reps vs Low Reps: Which is Finest?
  • Exercise Examples Utilizing Completely different Rep Ranges

high reps low weight vs low reps high weight

What Are Rep Ranges?

Rep ranges confer with the variety of occasions that you just carry out an train in a set. Nonetheless, simply utilizing this definition will drastically underserve our true intent when speaking about low reps and excessive reps.

We additionally want to speak about utilizing rep ranges with masses when defining it.

Rep Ranges and Masses

Think about if somebody is utilizing mild weights to carry out 5 reps. However, they might be doing 15 reps in the event that they actually tried. On this context, doing “low reps” would not appear to be very helpful and loses its true that means.

For this reason after we discuss rep ranges, we’re speaking concerning the masses related to them. As you can have most likely guessed, there’s an inverse relationship between the variety of reps carried out and the burden masses.

Listed here are two rep vary guidelines to observe.

1) Low Reps Equal Heavy Weights:

Low reps are anyplace from 1-6 reps. The related masses with this quantity of reps are 85% of your 1RM or much less.

Additional, “low reps” can be considered energy coaching. Research are very clear that utilizing masses better than 85% is much superior for bettering muscular energy. It is because they demand extra from the neuromuscular system. We’ll get into this under.

2) Excessive Reps Equal Mild Weights:

Excessive reps confer with utilizing lighter weights. The problem right here is that after we say “excessive reps vs. low reps,” we’re speaking a couple of binary system. Nonetheless, in precise energy and conditioning, there are not less than 3 rep ranges:

  • Mild Weight: 1-6 reps
  • Reasonable Weight: 8-12 reps
  • Excessive Reps: 12+ reps

For this text, after we say low reps, we can be referring to reasonable reps and excessive reps. It is because these two rep ranges have extra in frequent with one another.

That stated, light-weight can be described as a great deal of 80% 1RM to 70%+. In actuality, we’re speaking about muscle hypertrophy or muscle progress. Whereas this might additionally technically embrace endurance, the excellence is often between muscle energy and muscle hypertrophy.

higher weight lower reps vs lower weight higher reps

How To Use Low Reps For Muscle Energy

Trainees in any respect ranges and with totally different health targets ought to use low reps of their exercise routine. As talked about earlier, the principle goal of utilizing low reps with heavier weights is to enhance muscle energy.

For that reason, energy coaching is predominantly seen with energy athletes in comparison with bodybuilders. Nonetheless, weight coaching with low reps can also be well-liked amongst athletes of assorted sports activities.

Typically, muscle dimension and muscle energy are sometimes conflated by most of the people and new lifters (and even some veterans!) The principle assumption is that somebody with larger muscle tissue can be stronger as properly. This appears to be an apparent relationship so it is sensible somebody would suppose that.

In actuality, bettering muscle dimension is a unique physiological course of than bettering energy. Rising muscle mass happens by means of architectural alterations within the muscle, which we’ll dive into under. Then again, muscle energy occurs by means of bettering the neuromuscular system.

1 rep max for strength

Low Reps, Heavy Weight, And Your Neuromuscular System

Your neuromuscular system is how your mind talks to your muscle tissue and controls contractions. Similar to each different course of and motion within the human physique, it in the end comes right down to your mind sending alerts by means of varied methods to make a muscle transfer.

Whereas muscle hypertrophy includes making the muscle larger, muscle energy occurs when the prevailing muscle learns to speak higher. This happens by means of a number of mechanisms, reminiscent of elevated firing price, improved recruitment of muscle fibers, and stronger contractions.

Similar to any relationship, higher communication means higher perform, and within the case of a muscle, will probably be in a position to:

  • Produce extra power
  • React quicker
  • Improve workload

These are only a few of the advantages, however low reps and heavy weights optimize the prevailing muscle you have got.

reps with light weight

Can Low Reps Improve Muscle Mass?


The concept which you could’t construct muscle mass with low reps with heavy weight is attributable to an error in our lack of information of the muscle. Nonetheless, science has lastly caught up, and we now know that energy coaching can totally construct muscle mass. Even when some trainers or social media “gurus” say you may’t, you most positively can.

We’ll discuss extra about muscle hypertrophy under however on the finish of the day, rising your coaching quantity for a muscle group is the first driver of muscle progress. A number of research have proven that when the overall quantity is equated, it would not matter what rep ranges have been used.

lower weight higher reps vs higher weight lower reps

How To Use Excessive Reps For Muscle Mass

Now let’s take a greater have a look at utilizing larger repetitions, which is related to muscle progress. As we talked about above, your complete coaching quantity is the principle driver of muscle mass. So when you can construct muscle with low reps, it is a lot simpler to amass quantity utilizing lighter weights and excessive reps.

Excessive Reps Produce Extra Quantity

While you look at the connection between 1RM p.c and reps, you will discover it isn’t linear. To exhibit this, let’s fake you are doing a bench press with 100 lbs (we’re not calling you weak, we’re simply not good at math!).

Let’s have a look at how dropping just a bit little bit of weight permits for a lot of extra reps:

Weight (lbs)


Complete Weight Lifted (lbs)
















As you may see, dropping the burden by just a bit bit permits rather more reps per set, that means extra quantity. Despite the fact that we have discovered you may enhance muscle mass with heavier weights and decrease reps, decrease reps permit for rather more quantity.

Rep Ranges & Muscular Endurance

One fascinating distinction between rep ranges is the idea of muscular endurance. Once more, the prevailing thought is that it is advisable to carry out excessive reps with low weight to enhance muscular endurance. Nonetheless, this is not the case.

Low Weights Improve Absolute Endurance

There was fairly a little bit of analysis that appears on the variations to muscular endurance with energy coaching. A standard commentary is perhaps that whereas a powerlifter is perhaps stronger than a bodybuilder, the bodybuilder can carry out extra reps at a smaller % load. Nonetheless, this appears to be a particular adaptation moderately than a normal.

Bear in mind above, we spoke about how rising your maximal energy requires neuromuscular enhancements. In flip, the muscle works higher and may produce better power extra simply. For those who have a look at the 1RM chart under, you will see that when your 1RM will increase, you too can carry out decrease weights with extra reps.

low reps high weight vs high reps low weight

Supply: Nationwide Energy & Conditioning Affiliation 

What’s occurring is that as a result of you may produce power extra simply, it is much less taxing in your physique. While you prepare with lighter weights, you are simply constructing muscle mass, and chances are you’ll enhance endurance in that particular rep vary, however true endurance variations do not appear to enhance.

Elevated maximal energy will increase:

  • Time to fatigue
  • Endurance efficiency
  • Larger workload
  • A decrease degree of perceived exertion

Low Reps vs Excessive Reps: Finest Workouts

No rep vary holds any train hostage. In different phrases, you may technically carry out as many reps as you need with any train. Nonetheless, some workout routines do higher with particular rep ranges, and there are a couple of lifts that you just most likely should not do with a particular rep vary.

Finest Workouts For Low Reps

Utilizing low reps with heavier weights lays the inspiration for efficiency, improved aesthetics, and elevated athletics. A minimum of in my view, which is why I feel your main compound actions are the very best workout routines to make use of low reps.

The first goal of utilizing fewer repetitions is constructing energy, with rising muscle mass as a secondary profit. Due to this fact, it is sensible to make use of the largest workout routines, that are these actions. Some embrace:

  • Bench press
  • Again squat
  • Barbell shoulder press

Utilizing heavier weights with these compound workout routines is the first means freshmen and intermediates needs to be coaching.

Workouts You Should not Do With Low Reps

When taking a look at workout routines you should not be utilizing low repetitions with, isolation workout routines are the primary apparent exclusion. That is for 2 causes:

  1. The first goal of an isolation train is to extend lean muscle mass, making larger reps the higher alternative.
  2. Utilizing heavier weights with a single-joint train can place substantial stress on the joint and enhance the chance of damage.

    One other group of workout routines that it is advisable to be cautious about is dumbbell workout routines. Whereas you should utilize heavy weights, it is best to keep on with the higher area of “low reps.” This implies an excellent normal rule is to make use of 6 reps when wanting to coach dumbbells with heavy weights.

    The identical recommendation for utilizing the upper vary in “low reps” additionally applies to pulling workout routines, as near-maximal masses can place unneeded stress on the biceps. As well as, smaller compound actions also needs to observe this rule, reminiscent of a close-grip bench press.

    Finest Workouts For Excessive Reps

    You must use excessive reps and low weights when performing your isolation actions and smaller compound workout routines. Because of this an excellent share of workout routines will overlap, that means you can use any rep vary.

    One exception is when chances are you’ll typically carry out ultra-high reps to “shock” the muscle or simply change issues up on occasion. Many individuals discover that these ultra-high reps work properly for some lower-body workout routines, reminiscent of squats and leg presses.

    Workouts You Should not Do With Excessive Reps

    Whereas there aren’t as many heavy reps, there are some workout routines that we expect nobody ought to ever do with excessive reps, particularly persistently. These workout routines are deadlifts and Olympic lifts. Some individuals will disagree with this, however we do not really feel as if the profit is definitely worth the danger.

    In Olympic actions, the principle profit is to provide energy, not as “metabolic conditioning.” These are extremely complicated actions whose actions demand precision so working till you are fatigued would not make sense. That is to not even point out. The one profit is you are getting drained. It is our opinion that utilizing kettlebells is a significantly better possibility as you carry out an analogous motion whereas reducing the possibility of damage.

    The opposite train is deadlifts for comparable reasoning. Whereas doing deadlifts with larger reps has a spot, it needs to be reserved for intermediate or superior athletes who’ve gymnasium maturity (know when to cease), nice kind, and developed musculature that may face up to some errors.

    Once more, deadlifts are complicated actions and have the very best price of damage. Exhausting your self as you knock 5 extra is just not a good suggestion. As well as, transitioning from eccentric to concentric is odd, with deadlifts because the weights hit the bottom.

    You may bounce the burden, which needs to be reserved for superior athletes, otherwise you place the load on the bottom. Below regular situations, it is best to reset so that you carry out the following rep with nice kind. Nonetheless, whenever you knock out too many reps, it is easy to try to go too quick, which leads to damage.

    light weight high reps vs heavy weight low reps

    Low Reps vs Excessive Reps For Weight Loss: Is One Higher?

    One other query that folks have about weight lifting is what kind of weight lifting is finest for weight reduction. The fast reply is: “It would not matter.”

    I firmly consider that weight reduction mustn’t dictate the kind of coaching you do. Relatively, weight reduction ought to come from getting right into a caloric deficit together with your vitamin. Lifting weights to drop some pounds will usually end in a sub-optimal coaching plan as you are not getting the meant advantages, muscle progress, and sustaining muscle mass.

    That stated, lifting lighter weights and heavier weights can each assist create a caloric deficit and assist burn fats. Whereas lifting lighter weights, particularly for muscular failure, causes extra muscle injury, lifting heavier weights causes extra disruption in your physique’s physiological methods. And apparently, lifting heavier will be nice for shedding fats. A examine discovered {that a} group of dieters who lifted heavy weights misplaced the identical quantity in comparison with dieters who solely carried out cardio1. Much more fascinating, the burden lifters misplaced solely fats whereas the cardio group misplaced muscle and fats.

    In case you are utilizing weight lifting to drop some pounds, observe an analogous plan as you’d for those who have been gaining weight and use vitamin to regulate energy. If you concentrate on it, the fellows and women you see concerned with bulking and reducing merely alter their vitamin, and it is best to too.

    Try the Finest 7-Day Bodybuilding Excessive Protein Meal Plan and the Finest 4-Week Meal Plan For Weight Loss to get began!

    heavy weight low reps vs low weight high reps

    Quick Twitch vs Gradual Twitch Muscle Fibers

    One other proponent that will get bundled with the dialogue on excessive reps vs. low reps is fiber sorts. Your muscle is not one stable chunk of tissue however moderately a bunch of strands referred to as muscle fibers which are woven collectively.

    Take into consideration the best way rope is fashioned by combining a bunch of particular person strands. All these muscle fibers have totally different physiological properties that produce totally different efficiency advantages.

    1) Quick Twitch Muscle Fibers:

    Quick twitch muscle fibers, or Kind II muscle fibers, are chargeable for each energy variations and nearly all of muscle progress. For this text, these fibers have three necessary variables, that are that they fatigue simpler, create better power manufacturing, and have a better response to muscle progress.

    There are two totally different fast-twitch muscle fibers. They differ of their use of metabolic methods but nonetheless fall on the rep continuum.

    • Kind IIa: Kind II muscle fibers use the oxidative and glycolysis methods for respiration. They fall in the course of power manufacturing and fatigability.
    • Kind IIb: Kind IIb muscle fibers solely use the anaerobic metabolic methods and produce the best quantity of power, but fatigue is the best.

    2) Gradual Twitch Muscle Fibers:

    Gradual twitch muscle fibers, or Kind I muscle fibers, act as our energy mills for endurance. These muscle fibers are smaller, so they’re unable to provide giant quantities of power. Nonetheless, they’re fatigue-resistant and may present decrease quantities of energy for lengthy intervals.

    In terms of energy coaching, your gradual twitch fibers do not play a large function however are nonetheless necessary nonetheless. Regardless, you will not prepare them a lot except you carry out some conventional endurance efficiency.

    high rep sets training

    What About Body weight Workouts?

    Body weight workout routines are a bit totally different from conventional barbell weight coaching as they measure what’s referred to as relative energy. That is in distinction to absolute energy.

    Assuming you are not utilizing any exterior load or help, body weight workout routines use your physique as their loading mechanism. What number of reps you are able to do of your physique weight is predicated on how robust you’re, that means your energy relative to your physique weight.

    For instance, as an instance a 200lb man can bench 200 lbs and do 4 chin-ups. Examine this to a 150lb man who can bench 190 lbs and do 15 chin-ups.

    Though the 200lb man has better absolute energy whenever you examine the quantity they bench to their weight, the 150lb man has better relative energy. On the similar time, you may see the 190lbs man can do 15 chin-ups in comparison with 4, which additionally exhibits he has better relative energy.

    Regardless, the identical guidelines of excessive reps and low reps apply to body weight workout routines. Within the instance above, if no outdoors loading mechanisms are used, the 200lb man goes to enhance his energy with chin-ups whereas the 150lb man will enhance muscle dimension and muscular endurance.

    That stated, whenever you use these workout routines, it is best to use varied apparatuses to change your weight to make your self heavier or lighter. Use exterior loading (kettlebells, dip belt) so as to add weight if it is advisable to add weight if you’re doing too many reps. Then again, utilizing resistance bands could make you lighter to permit excessive reps.

    high or low rep ranges

    Excessive Reps vs Low Reps: Which Is Finest?

    So after taking a look at the entire proof, which one is finest? If we might solely choose one, it will be lifting heavy weights with low reps.

    This could primarily be because of the energy good points and enhancements in muscle endurance. Whereas utilizing excessive reps would possibly have some benefits for muscle hypertrophy, this is applicable extra to the superior lifter. On the similar time, you may nonetheless enhance muscle dimension utilizing heavy weights.

    Energy coaching improves your neuromuscular effectivity. This makes your present muscle flip into “higher muscle.” It will likely be more practical and environment friendly. Consequently, you get higher endurance and all-around higher efficiency.

    That stated, there’s nonetheless a profit to utilizing light-weight, and this dichotomy would not exist in actual life (for almost all of individuals). Due to this fact, there is not any motive to select from both one. As a substitute, use each.

    Try our article to study extra about energy vs hypertrophy coaching.

    lower reps vs higher reps

    Low Reps & Excessive Reps Exercise Routines

    To see how a exercise program might look in another way, we’ll present a pattern exercise routine that favors both one. First, a coaching plan that focuses on low reps. Bear in mind, the aim for utilizing low reps is energy.










    T-Bar Row



    Barbell Entrance Shrug



    Seated Shut Grip Row



    Bicep Curl



    Now for the same exercise that focuses on utilizing excessive reps and muscle hypertrophy.










    T-Bar Row



    Lat Pull-Down



    Seated Large-Grip Row



    Face Pull



    Bicep Curl



    As you may see, the 2 exercises are very comparable. When trying on the exercise with excessive reps, it solely has one train with lower than 6 reps, the deadlift. After, each train has 8+.

    This demonstrates our perception. We expect all people ought to use a number of rep ranges to hit each side of muscular health. There is no motive to fully eradicate both vary except you’re being fully misguided.

    Low Rep vs Excessive Rep: Closing Takeaways

    Our philosophy for resistance coaching is fairly easy. Nearly the whole lot is helpful in the proper circumstances. In terms of weight coaching and rep ranges, use all of them. Do not get caught up in trainers telling you that is higher than that, because it depends upon your aim.

    Whereas we really feel low rep coaching has extra advantages, particularly for freshmen, you also needs to add some mild weights. Then again, if you’re attempting to be a bodybuilder and do not carry heavier weights in any respect, you’ll endure from ignoring weight coaching. Do not make it extra difficult than it must be.

    For extra data on reps, units, and coaching quantity, head to our article: How Many Workouts, Units, And Reps Ought to I Do Per Muscle Group & Exercise?

    hypertrophy program

    Put together to maximise your good points with our unique 12-week hypertrophy coaching program. Select between a 4 or 5 day coaching break up and acquire 2-12 kilos of muscle over 90 days…


    1. Willis, Leslie H et al. “Results of cardio and/or resistance coaching on physique mass and fats mass in chubby or overweight adults.” Journal of utilized physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985) vol. 113,12 (2012. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.01370.2011

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