High reps or low reps?

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High reps or low reps?

A  mix of people tend to approach me, asking certain questions based on their individual goals. Some are already on that path to becoming fit, others just want some guidance on how to get on that path. Whatever it may be, it’s always the question of; “How do I gain muscle mass?” or “How do I get toned?”

Some people are actually pretty confused that when trying to gain muscle mass, your muscle has to undergo hypertrophy, which requires low reps and heavy weights. For the other way around, if you want to get toned, you do high reps with low weights and sometimes if you’ve bulked to a certain weight and it’s time to cut some of the body fat from your physique, some people actually just maintain doing lifts for 10 reps, with weights they can easily do 10 reps with.

Preacher CurlsNow, I just spoke there that to gain muscle mass, one undergoes muscle hypertrophy, which is basically the increasing of the size of the muscle cells. This in turn, produces larger muscles.  For toning, people generally use high reps with lighter weights.  Although, if you do enough research one would see that toning isn’t even something that’s possible, unless you lose body fat. I would have to greatly agree with that, as the word “tone”, is thrown around a little too much and one thinks if they do 20 reps of a certain exercise, with like 15 lb weights, then they are going to get toned and they aren’t. If they lift weights, and undergo hypertrophy and then cut, then they will become toned.

The whole concept for using high reps, is to place yourself in a mindset, to not become too bulky. A lot of people who come to me, aren’t interested in bodybuilding but in fact, just being fit. They are afraid of gaining muscle mass, to an extreme point like myself, so they try to avoid it as much as possible. If they would do the max of 20 lbs for 15 to 20 reps, they would be fine. Generally, the people inquiring about this, are of course, female.

Regardless, if you do some form of muscle resistent workout, like I told this one individual who made me decide to write this article, you are going to gain weight. You may end up staying the same weight if you follow certain rules, or you may gain some. Point is, muscle weighs more than fat, so the scale may not always be your friend especially if you’ve constantly done cardio and it’s time to “tone” up. Building muscle also burns fat, so it’s always a good thing to have a muscle building routine, in your weight loss routine even if you’re not looking to get into a bodybuilding lifestyle.

Now, if you’re an individual who wants to “tone” up, while you’re doing your cardio but would like to be big also, then the low reps and high weights are what you need to do. Something you can perform the exercise properly, with 8 to 10 reps. Also, if you’re really going for strength, then something you can only do the max of 6 reps with. But as this post isn’t about muscle building routine, specifically for mass gaining but more to focus on when to use high reps and when to use low reps, you must understand that one will cause you to build significant muscle mass while the other will cause some muscle mass to be gained. The point is, how  much resistence the muscle has to undergo, determines the type of hypertrophy that would physicologically occur, which in essense determines how big you may come across when you’re done.

Understand also, that if you’re doing a lot of cardio to lose body fat, you would not become too big from any muscle building routine. To get big, you need to provide your body the amount of fuel to gain mass, and that isn’t always on a deficit. You can “tone” down, and become more shredded, but if you want to gain muscle mass, remember at a certain point, a bulk will be in order.

So yet again, figure out what it is you want to do and follow the procedures that are directed towards those goals. It’s quite simple, just sit down and figure it out and be calm about it. Even if your goals change mid-through, that’s fine. Just come back to this post, read when to use high reps or low reps, and get to training!

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