Reps, sets, weights

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    May 30, 2013 2:32 AM GMT
    Hi Folks

    Looking for opinions here.

    I've done a lot of digging around on the net trying to make an informed opinion about reps, sets and weights. There's so much conflicting advice out there.

    What do you think is best for building muscle size? Lighter weights with high reps in just a few sets, or heavier weights and lower reps over a greater number of sets?

    I tried one routine the other day and it really seemed to get into my muscles as I was sore (good sore) for a few days after. It was three sets of 20 reps with 30 percent lighter weights. It really made me work but I'm not sure what the gain would be afterwards in terms of building size?

    And what do you think is better for joints, heavier weights and lower reps or lighter weights and more reps?

    What works for you?
  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11406

    May 30, 2013 2:36 AM GMT
    It depends on your body type ... and it is all about consistency and time ... nothing happens over night
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    May 30, 2013 2:37 AM GMT
    For size, you want heavy weights.

    HOWEVER - one thing to remember is that you also have to maintain good form. With heavier weights, it's harder to keep form. If for instance, you can't flex your bicep when doing a dumbbell curl then you should probably lower the weight.
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    May 30, 2013 3:07 AM GMT
    This is the program i'm currently using and I like it a lot http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/shortcut-to-size.html

    Four workouts per week. Week 1, high reps, low weight. Week 2, higher weight, lower reps. Week 3, heavier weight, fewer reps. Week 4, heaviest weight, fewest reps. That's Phase 1. Phase 2 basically repeats phase 1 except you begin at a heavier weight than you started with in phase 1. After the four weeks of phase 2, you move on to phase 3 -- so in all it is a 12 week program (3 four week phases).

    Covers all the bases.

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    May 30, 2013 11:16 AM GMT
    MikeW saidThis is the program i'm currently using and I like it a lot http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/shortcut-to-size.html

    Four workouts per week. Week 1, high reps, low weight. Week 2, higher weight, lower reps. Week 3, heavier weight, fewer reps. Week 4, heaviest weight, fewest reps. That's Phase 1. Phase 2 basically repeats phase 1 except you begin at a heavier weight than you started with in phase 1. After the four weeks of phase 2, you move on to phase 3 -- so in all it is a 12 week program (3 four week phases).

    Covers all the bases.



    Sounds like a cool program, thanks for the tips!
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    May 30, 2013 11:57 AM GMT
    WestAussieGuy saidHi Folks

    Looking for opinions here.

    I've done a lot of digging around on the net trying to make an informed opinion about reps, sets and weights. There's so much conflicting advice out there.

    What do you think is best for building muscle size? Lighter weights with high reps in just a few sets, or heavier weights and lower reps over a greater number of sets?

    I tried one routine the other day and it really seemed to get into my muscles as I was sore (good sore) for a few days after. It was three sets of 20 reps with 30 percent lighter weights. It really made me work but I'm not sure what the gain would be afterwards in terms of building size?

    And what do you think is better for joints, heavier weights and lower reps or lighter weights and more reps?

    What works for you?


    Research hypertrophy.
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    May 30, 2013 12:13 PM GMT
    If you're trying to see muscle gain, it's what you're doing for nutrition between workouts that will have the biggest effect. If you aren't eating to meat the need of a body with increased muscle mass, your body isn't going to grow much.
  • joxguy

    Posts: 236

    May 30, 2013 3:43 PM GMT
    first off the old saying "no pain no gain" is not accurate, stay away from pain. Low weight and high weight is good for toning or staying just fit. Higher weight and fewer reps does work to build you up.

    Here is he biggest mistake, high weight and then forcing the weight up and then letting it just fall back. With any weight you need to have a constant even flow while pushing up and a constant flow controlling the flow back.

    Guys and can go gang busters with heavy weights pushing them up in quick motion and then just letting them fall back. Take those guys and put less weight on the bar and then force them to do a constant push up and a constant controlled retreat and they are done quickly.
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    May 30, 2013 8:12 PM GMT
    WestAussieGuy saidHi Folks

    Looking for opinions here.

    I've done a lot of digging around on the net trying to make an informed opinion about reps, sets and weights. There's so much conflicting advice out there.

    What do you think is best for building muscle size? Lighter weights with high reps in just a few sets, or heavier weights and lower reps over a greater number of sets?

    I tried one routine the other day and it really seemed to get into my muscles as I was sore (good sore) for a few days after. It was three sets of 20 reps with 30 percent lighter weights. It really made me work but I'm not sure what the gain would be afterwards in terms of building size?

    And what do you think is better for joints, heavier weights and lower reps or lighter weights and more reps?

    What works for you?

    Educate yourself. Read books that are reputable (start with Starting Strength by Rippetoe and 5-3-1 by Wendler).
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    May 30, 2013 9:29 PM GMT
    Load, repetition, and volume assignments based on training goal:

    Training Goal.......Load (%1RM)......Goal repetitions.......Sets

    Strength...................>=85....................<6............................2-6

    Power
    single-effort event....89-90...................1-2...........................3-5
    multiple-effort...........75-85...................3-5...........................3-5

    Hypertrophy.............67-85...................6-12.........................3-6

    M. Endurance..........<=67....................>=12........................2-3


    You can also look at this continuum to get a different perspective:

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-CDIPMwzpG-s/UEU0mBkn76I/AAAAAAAABOs/7oEFRLhiKZY/s1600/Rep+continuum.jpg

    These figures a supported by a bajillion articles looking at rep ranges and loads for specific training goals. But as you can see, there are significant ranges. You will need to figure this out yourself based on your own body's capabilities, and your personal goals However, it is generally accepted that higher training volumes are associated with increases in muscular size, and performing three of more exercises per muscle group is the most effective strategy for increasing muscle size.


    Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning by Baechle and Earle in conjunction with the NSCA is a great basic resource to have.
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    May 31, 2013 3:27 AM GMT
    Wow! Thanks for all the great advice folks.