The question of reps versus weight is something that many people want to know. It’s important because it can have real-world consequences regarding what kind of gains you see and how quickly you see them too.
Fortunately, there’s an answer to this age-old question but it’s not as simple as one or the other. As with most questions of fitness, it depends on a variety of factors.
Should you do more reps or more weight? Keep reading to find out.
1. The Dreaded Plateau
The first thing to consider before you even think about more sets or more reps is the issue of plateauing.
If you do just about any strength exercises long enough, there will come a time when it stops producing remarkable results in your physique. This is what’s meant when we refer to it as a plateau. Your results are not increasing steadily anymore and have petered out to either very little results or none at all.
No one wants to plateau because that means you’re not challenging yourself anymore. At best, you’ll be maintaining the results you’ve already obtained but aren’t going any further.
If you’ve hit the dreaded plateau and are asking yourself, “When should I increase weight,” the answer is yesterday. Although, more reps could also help.
Plateauing can happen and most likely will happen to every bodybuilder in the gym. You should always be aware of it and it might even help to view it as an enemy. The best way to trick and defeat this enemy is by mixing things up.
A phrase you might have heard before is “keep the body the guessing.”
2. More Reps
While lifting more weight and doing fewer reps can increase your overall strength, when you do more reps with less weight, you can further stimulate the process of muscle-building. The scientific term for this process is ‘hypertrophy.’
The difference between more strength and more muscle-building is actually not that huge but it matters in the world of bodybuilding. So the truth is that when you do more reps at the cost of less weight you’re still getting stronger but in a way that’s a bit different from the strength of doing more weight.
The key difference between these two types of strengths is what’s referred to as muscle endurance or stamina. When you work out your muscles by doing more reps, you’re training them to take hits for a longer period of time without getting tired.
We’ve all been there, the moment when you simply can’t do that last rep because of the lactic acid that’s been building up in your muscles. Well, by doing more reps you can increase the amount of time that you’re able to resist the lactic acid and go further and further without stopping due to fatigue.
With this in mind, the next time you hit a plateau, you can choose to increase the number of reps you do instead of the weight. The effect of this will allow you to increase your stamina while maintaining the proper form and technique of each exercise.
To get even more out of your workout, make sure to mentally focus on each muscle that you’re using at a given time. This will allow you to strengthen your mind-muscle connection. That way, you can avoid having other muscles compensating for the weakness of the muscle that you’re trying to work out.
3. More Weight
While the extra hypertrophy of more reps can surely help you win some trophies, focusing on increasing the amount of weight you lift is still a crucial component of bodybuilding
It’s a simple fact that the more weight you lift, the fewer reps you’ll be able to do. When it comes to high weight, you could be able to do anywhere from 1 rep to 5 reps. Although that’s not many reps at all, it will help to boost your overall strength.
The skill of lifting higher weight can be improved, of course, and it’s something you’ll want to focus on at some point as you work on your physique. Not only will you feel more powerful when you lift higher weights but it can help with your conception of a given exercise.
It’s worth emphasizing that you shouldn’t limit yourself to just lifting heavy weights. There will always come a time where you can’t go any higher, similar to plateauing. From there, you’ll have no choice but to lower the weight a bit and increase your reps to avoid a lack of results.
Not to mention, if you push yourself too hard with maximum weight and beyond, you could seriously injure yourself. Injuries are no joke and could negatively affect your performance for a lifetime.
The rule of thumb is to ensure that, no matter the weight, you maintain perfect form and technique with each rep. The more weight you have, the more chance your form will suffer as you struggle to lift it.
In short, you need to find the right balance between weight and reps and increase those numbers with time to avoid the dreaded plateau.
Should You Do More Reps or More Weight? Now You Know
The next time someone asks you, “Should you do more reps or more weight?” you can tell them all about it. When you fine-tune your workout and reinforce it with the right supplements, you can expect to get massive gains.
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