One of the questions I’m constantly asked is which is better for building muscle, light weight and lots of reps or heavy weight with fewer reps. The answer is a many faceted issue that I will try to encapsulate in a short article.
I was raised with the theory that heavy weights builds muscle and lighter weights are for cutting or leaning out that muscle; which generally is true with plenty of asterisks.
First of all the “no pain no gain” protocol comes into play here. True it’s painful as hell putting hundreds of pounds on your back as in squatting or dead lifting 500 lbs even if it’s for a few reps.
But to be fair, try doing lots of reps at a light weight.
Example try bench pressing a moderate weight say 225 lbs for 60 reps, its MURDER! Which is right for you? It depends on many factors including your age, your bone structure, your goals and your genetics. If you’re in your 20’s and are injury free I would say go at it hot and heavy. Overload that muscle. You need heavier loads to continue forcing adaptations in the muscle. Otherwise you’re going to build muscle endurance which is no problem but that won’t increase your strength or size. It’s why the bench press is superior to the push up where your max weight is your body weight.
If you’re an older individual, say 35 or 40 and above, you can still work out heavy but be cautious of straining not only muscles but the tendons and ligaments. (Not to mention your joints takes a beating.)
You will still be able to build muscle using lighter weights along with cycling both heavy and light weights, plus saving you plenty of pain. Try alternating between the two on a regular basis or go heavy for 4-6 weeks followed by using light weights for same period. This applies to both women and men!!
As a rule, heavy sets usually are in the 6-10 rep range and lighter sets are in the 15 and above range. Remember to warm up properly, drink plenty of water and get plenty of sleep.
Whatever your goals are, we at Freeport Health Club are here to help! We have the largest free weights selection in the area to go with cardio machines; even sauna and steam rooms for your post workout routine. Add a great weight loss program of either low carb or low fat and I guarantee your results!
To receive your free one week pass on top of other weekly specials, simply text FHC7DAYS to 31996 to opt into our text messaging club. Bring your pass in to redeem it and try us out for a week. You’ll see why we are Freeport’s only No Fluff gym!
Bill Tillou, Owner/Trainer
Freeport Health Club/Freeport Health Club+PLUS