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What’s the difference between doing more reps of an exercise and adding more weight?

Jun 3, 2014

Reps vs. WeightsBilly Beyer
FT Basking Ridge


"If one is looking to develop dense lean muscle it is best to have a comprehensive resistance training program. Within this program one should complete six to eight reps for the first two to three exercises of the muscle group they are working on that day. This will build the muscle. The last two to three exercises one does with that same muscle group should be at their maximum weight for 10 to 15 reps. This will tone the muscle."

Blake Beckcom
FT Mission Hills


"The key to reps vs. weight is all about goals and time under tension; that is, the intensity to which one wants to train in order to get there faster.

"High reps generally are associated with weight loss and toning to achieve a more defined look.  Higher weight loads exhaust muscle tissues to a more significant degree, requiring them to adapt by gaining lean mass to cope with the stress. A good combination of both modalities is of benefit to keep your body guessing, which keeps the adaptation principle in high gear.

"Try a heavier weight/lower rep set followed by the same exercise but with much lower weight and double the reps. Your body will scream for more! The key is smart weight and rep range selection for your particular goals and timelines and to work within your capabilities -- one workout and one meal at a time, over time."

Bruce Kelly
FT Media


"Reps should correspond to load  -- the higher the load, the lower the reps.

"Here are general guidelines for the rep ranges we use and their purpose: One to five reps for strength or power depending on speed of movement.  Eight to 12 reps for hypertrophy and building muscle.  Thirteen to 15 or more for muscular endurance."

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