Friday, 10 February 2012 06:17

High reps vs low reps for strength

We've all heard it. The "high reps vs low reps" debate - basically, the question of whether to perform a high number of repetitions of an exercise or do a low number.

Most of us that train on a regular basis have heard this one and have pondered the question in detail. And even if you don't exercise - chances are excellent that at some point, you've thought or heard talk about "pressing 300 lbs five times for five sets ", or "doing 10 consecutive pull-ups". Is it better do the pushups all at once,  or do them in sets? And so forth.

I'll provide my thoughts in a minute, but first, let's shift focus slightly and take a look at two categories of people that are generally considered to be "strong" - laborers (or others that do heavy physcial labor as part of their daily routine - such as dockloaders) and Olympic powerlifters. Yeah, I know, it's a strange combination, but bear with me for a minute here. 

The dock loader lifts heavy weights all day long, loads them, and repeats. The laborer does much the same thing, except maybe in a different manner to the dockloader.

The Olympic weightlifter (NOT bodybuilder) lifts a massive weight, puts it down, rests and repeats. He may do this once, or for a set number of repetitions - but he doesn't do this all day long. He then does another exercise where he again lifts (or pushes) a weight, puts it back, rests and repeats. And so forth.

Now, who is "stronger"? Who is more "powerful"? 

The answer is, it's impossible to tell from the information given - which in this case is the exercise, and the number of repetitions performed. And similarly, it is virtually impossible for me to give you a clear cut "yes/no" answer to the question of low reps vs high reps. The only answer I can give you is that "it depends", and by that I mean it depends on a variety of factors too numerous to mention here. 

For example, my own workouts often involve high repetitions, especially when I'm doing things like jumping rope and pushups. But I often concentrate on doing low repetitions of a certain movement - and still manage to get an EXCELLENT workout in. As a matter of fact, that is precisely what I did this morning - and I feel great now.

The key is to do SOMETHING. Do 5 reps if that is all you can manage, and pretty soon you'll be up to 15. And that's really as simple as it gets. As to the almighty question of "what is better - low or high reps", again - start doing something - and KEEP on doing something - and you'll soon see why there is no one size fits all answer here.

More on this topic later. In the meantime, if your looking for routines with both low and high repetition workouts, well, you've come to the right place, my friend. Click on over to Fast and Furious Fitness and get yourself a copy of the book that will change the way you think about fitness - forever.

Best regards,