High Reps OR Low Reps?

December 8, 2012 at 12:19 AM | Posted in (All Posts) | Leave a comment
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One of the biggest things I have struggled with in my gym life is the amount of weight I am lifting over a course of time. When I first joined the gym at my university after I first arrived to Suwon, I can remember feeling as if I was ahead of the curb. I have been working out somewhat regularly over the course of the year with one of my close friends at ETSU, and even though I had a bike wreck in the early summer (a story for another day) which prevented me from doing any serious workouts for a time, I still felt like I was going to grab some heavy weights and just start throwing them around.

I was wrong. I had lost a lot of power all over, but especially in my right arm (where I had to have stitches). Even now I still struggle to keep both arms equal in power. But that point aside, over the first few weeks I really saw improvement fast. My stabilizers returned and I was picking up heavier weight, dropping the bar down on machines and doing more reps. I felt like I was seeing progress fast.

But strangely, the past week or so has disappointed me in terms of the weight I’m lifting. I have been overloading on protein and cutting out unnecessary snacks all together, but it seems like my strength is not transferring in the right places.

I decided to go back to the drawing board.

I went down to lower weights again to really perfect the form and take up high-high reps. One set might contain anywhere from 15 – 2o reps — which is way more than I was used to doing.

My body is still going through this experiment and yesterday and today have been two very productive days at the gym.

We even had a game amongst all of the language students yesterday — where two people would stand on a newspaper. Then you would get off, fold the paper once, and try to both get back on. Eventually it became a matter of one person carrying the other, and I was partnered with my Malaysian roommate (who weighs probably 30 lbs less than I do at least), and I eventually talked him into letting me just toss him on my shoulders (think Attitude Adjustment or GTS starting position)

Cena FU

I like to think I looked like Cena there — but in reality my opponent was my 130 lb friend.

Regardless, I found myself in a squatting contest to win the competition. One of my friends from Poland was holding his partner in a carrying-position, and one by one — everyone other competitor (20 or so) had to fall over or step off the newspaper. But my Polish friend and I came down to be the final two competitors. All in all, we did well over 30 squats holding the other person until the teachers just decided we both would win.

Wow — this post is quite all over the place, but I just wanted an excuse to tell that story.

Anyways, I can tell my lifting is improving. Right now I’m currently deciding if I want to jump on the Creatine bandwagon and begin taking that to help me get bigger and lift more, but I’m still undecided. I really want to make sure I take it at the proper time and I know 100% what I’m doing.

To finish this post, I’d like to do a little plug for Lindsay Cappotelli‘s (Tough Enough III Winner Matt Cappotelli’s Wife) blog. I was reading this morning after I got back from the gym, and she had an entire post based on the exact question I had. Check out her input —

— So what’s best? High reps or low reps? Well, I think a mix of both is best. I’m definitely not saying that you should never “feel the burn”, but just that you should make sure to include some heavier sets with lower reps into your training as well. When you lift heavy for lower reps (less than 6), you may not even feel a burn. Instead, your muscles will most likely fatigue before you get to that point. Does that mean you didn’t work the muscles hard enough? NOT at all!

I have done both and I definitely enjoy lower reps the best. I like to keep the majority of my lifting in the 5 – 10 rep range (sometimes as low as 3) for a mix of both strength and hypertrophy. BUT I do like mixing in some higher rep sets in at the end of my workouts as well. I usually do my heavy, low rep stuff first in the workout and then throw in some higher rep isolation exercises at the end, just to get a good “pump” to satisfy the bodybuilder in me! —

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