Heavy Weights Before Lighter Ones?

  • shoelessj

    Posts: 511

    Aug 01, 2008 12:20 AM GMT
    For years, while lifting, I've begun a group of exercises by doing, say, 12 reps of a weight, then 10, then working to 6 or sometimes 3 reps with the heaviest weight. Lately, though, after reading a routine in one of those muscle magazines, I've been doing a routine where I start out by doing 6 reps of what i think would be my most difficult weight to lift, and i do three sets of this, followed more or less by a set of 10 reps of a much lighter weight and one or two sets of 12 with an even lighter weight.

    On the good side, I am lifting heavier weights because i have more energy at the beginning of a workout or a group of lifts than at the end, but i worry that by doing it this way i am stunting my ability to move up in poundage at some point. My objective is building muscle, getting rid of fat, not merely lifting so i can lift more.

    Any thoughts on this upside down-ness of lifting? Anyone else start with heavy weights and low reps? Does it matter? Your own tips, experience, success stories?



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    Aug 01, 2008 4:25 AM GMT
    I think what you might have heard about is a form of Muscle Exhaustion. Where you lift all you can, until you can't possibly lift any more of that weight.. so you drop it down, and go until you're totally spent.. and repeat, until you can barely lift 10lbs.

    Like MMTM said, there are a lot of ways to train with weights, and each way is going to yield very different results. But starting out immediately with your max weight might be dangerous.. Talk it over with a trainer to make sure you're doing what's best for achieving the goals you've set for yourself in a safe way.
  • shoelessj

    Posts: 511

    Aug 01, 2008 4:40 AM GMT
    MMTM said:
    "First let me ask you. Are you looking to tighten up a bit and lose some weight? "

    Yeah. I've realized I will never be slim and/or skinny, but I can get rid of the extra fat and get the muscles hard. I don't necessarily want to get bigger mass-wise, but what mass i have i want to be hard, not flabby.

    Also, as i've posted elsewhere today, i'm going to take some boxing class, and i am totally stoked about that and what it can do for me.
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    Aug 01, 2008 4:45 AM GMT
    shoelessj said i'm going to take some boxing class, and i am totally stoked about that and what it can do for me.


    I added boxing to my weekly routine which already includes Bikram's Yoga, Spinning and weight training and let me tell you that the Boxing class/gym is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!! I forgot I LOVED boxing when I use to box with my dad when I was a kid! Good luck with it man!
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    Aug 01, 2008 6:20 AM GMT
    I don't know if i'm doing it wrong but this is how i do it.

    I take lets say a 20 pound dumbbell and try to do 5 sets of 10 reps.. after I can do 5 sets of 12 reps comfortablly. I move up to say 25 pounds 5s in 10r. and work my ways up again... This all takes place over periods of months btw.

    I was told that its not about how much weight you lift. (It is somewhat important don't get me wrong) but more about how much you use the muscle and can lift the weight in a controlled fashion which targets the muscle without you loosing form. Lifting more weight but doing fewer reps is not as effective as lifting less weight but doing more reps.

    This is all hear say however and we all know everyone out there has there own way which makes fitness advice such a bitch to folloicon_rolleyes.gifw.
  • shoelessj

    Posts: 511

    Aug 01, 2008 4:22 PM GMT
    Thanks for the advice, fellas.

    I didn't realise i was flirting with injury here, so i will adjust and go heavier on the 12-rep sets, do more reps instead of merely more weight.

    One thing i did notice with the other way was that my workouts didn't take long. I could bang out five or six sets in just that many minutes and wind up doing a workout of about 20, 22 sets in under a half hour. I don't like to hog the machines, benches, etc., and like to just go bang, bang, bang and get out of the weight room and move on to my half hour on the elliptical or bike or whatever.

    Also, there is, I think, some sort of a natural instinct in men which makes us want to lift more, not merely to be able to tell people how much you can bench or squat or whatever, but to kind of prove something to yourself, that you are strong or getting stronger...it's also i think, like any competitive sport, only you have no opponent in lifting, so you go against yourself, and try to better what you did up to last week or last month or whatever.