Light Weight, High Reps or Heavy Weight, Low Reps — Which’s Better? — Ask Coach Rick Scarpulla
“Is it better to use light weight for high reps or heavy weight for low reps?” — Tyrone, 23, Wichita
This is a good question because many people are unsure of the answer. Luckily, the answer is simple and applies to most people — You need to mix it up and do high reps AND low reps with heavy, moderate and light weights.
Every aspect of your training should be mixed up and constantly changing. The human body is designed to adapt and your gains will slow down rapidly and that “same ol’ same ol’ feeling” will arise. Too many people walk into the same gym and do the same machines with the same reps and the same weight. Then they wonder why they don’t make any gains. Be creative and do some different stuff. If you only read one book you will only get so smart. If you only watched one TV show you would quickly get bored. It’s the same with training. Humans need multiple stimuli to continue to make gains and not get bored.
The best thing you can do is each time you workout in any area whether it’s cardio or weights do not repeat the same exercises or rep schemes. Every day do something you haven’t done in a while. That is the best way to keep things moving and avoid boredom. If you do three sets of flat bench presses with dumbbells then next time do incline bench with a barbell for three sets with a heavy weight. I like using max weight and working up to a heavy single which you should do also but not all the time for you.
Get out of your comfort zone and push yourself harder. That is how you keep the gains coming! Don’t be afraid of going heavy. In my opinion that is the best for you. You force growth and create bone density that way. Reps are good, but like I said, you have got to keep mixing things up on a daily basis.
Rick Scarpulla, the creator of The Ultimate Athlete Training Program, is a highly sought-after and renowned strength, speed and conditioning coach who works in developing top high school, college and professional athletes and programs throughout North America. You can follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.