Low-weight, high-rep workouts improve endurance.
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You've probably seen a variety of workout styles during your time as a fitness enthusiast. While you may have a difference of opinion with your workout partner on which triceps exercise is better, high-rep or low-rep workouts shouldn't be a debated issue. High-rep and low-rep workouts each offer benefits that the other workout doesn't offer, so make sure your range provides the benefits you want.
Everyone Likes Power
If you train with a low-rep, high-weight routine, each set has you lifting the weight between two and six times. If you are focused on strength, your range is two to six reps per set, while power lifters aim for two to five reps. Both strength and power lifters focus on multijoint exercises and a faster speed when lifting -- one second up and one second down. Multijoint exercises let you work multiple muscles at one time to achieve the highest power output. Examples of multijoint exercises are the clean-and-jerk and the deadlift.
Right Square in the Middle
If you are lifting for muscular growth -- hypertrophy -- you use between six and 12 reps, while advanced lifters train between six and eight. Hypertrophy training is right in the middle of low-rep, high-weight and high-rep, low-weight routines. Use a combination of multijoint and single-joint exercises for your routine to focus on specific muscle groups. Your leg routine may involve the multijoint barbell squat and the single-joint machine leg extension.
A Bunch of Reps
High-rep, low-weight workouts are designed to increase aerobic power and muscular endurance, and increase the time you can exercise before exhaustion. High-rep, low-weight workouts use between 15 and 20 repetitions and focus on multijoint and single-joint exercises. If you are doing high-rep, low-weight workouts, your focus is on enhancing your performance in a cardiovascular exercise such as running or cycling.
A Few Good Tips
When training at low-rep, high-weight intensity, cardiovascular training normally goes to the back burner. According to a 2009 study published in the "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research," men who combined resistance training with cycling or running didn't gain strength or hypertrophy as quickly as men focused only on resistance training. While low-rep, high-weight routines are good for untrained exercise enthusiasts, advanced enthusiasts showed more improvement on the rower with low-rep, high-weight routines than high-rep, low-weight, according to a 2004 study published in the "Journal of Strength Conditioning and Research."