lot lately on why high
when compared to training with a lower amount
reps for heavier weight.
I touched on this topic in my article “To
Gain Muscle Weight, Go For The Burn”
Basically, there is more and more evidence pointing to the conclusion
that if you want to gain
mass naturally, using higher reps in your training is going
there much faster than lifting heavier weight for a lower amount of
reps per set.
Now, as you may already know, this is a big debate in the bodybuiding /
Some weight lifters feel that going heavy for single digit reps is
what’s going to build muscle mass.
Yet, many others believe the exact opposite: that lighter
for double digit reps is the way to go.
Well, many un-biased scientists are starting to also feel this way,
that lighter weights for higher reps to build muscle mass (not strength….these are two
different things, even though most people think that size and strength
go hand in hand
) is the way to go.
Here’s just one more proof of this in the ever-growing list:
just conducted a study, which some have referenced it as “Resistance
exercise intensity does not differentially affect skeletal muscle
myostatin gene expression but does increase serum myostatin propeptide
In this study, they took a group of weight trainers and had them go
through several leg workouts.
What they did was perform exercises like the leg press and the leg
However, they did each exercise 1 leg at a time.
For both legs they had them perform the same amount of sets and
exercises, but on one leg they had them perform sets of 6 reps, and the
other leg sets of 20 reps.
The scientists then took blood samples and muscle biopsies of each leg
after every workout training session.
What did they find?
They discovered that the
performed the sets of 6 reps (low reps / heavier weight) had 3 times
higher the amount of myostatin than the leg that performed sets of 20
reps (high reps / lighter weight).
“What’s myostatin?”, you may be asking.
Myostatin is a protein that limits
the amount of growth in muscle tissue and fibers.
the amount of myostatin
in a muscle, the less
amount of size
it can gain.
So, obviously, if gaining
building muscle mass is our goal, myostatin is our enemy.
We don’t want raised levels of this protein!
So, according to this study, training
with heavier weights for lower reps raises the levels of myostatin in
the muscle being trained 3 times higher than lower weight for higher
reps, resulting in limited growth.
And, let’s be honest here. Chances are that if you are
bodybuilder / weight trainer, and are reading this article and site,
then your main goal is to build muscle fast.
Yet, following the myth that heavy weight for low reps is for mass could be exactly why you may not
the results in the mirror that you were hoping for.
(Make an honest evaluation of your current workout routine, take a look
at your own physique, and see if this is the case with you).
This is also another probable reason why powerlifters and Olympic
lifters (which train with heavy weights for low reps) don’t have anywhere near the type
that a bodybuilder has.
Remember, we’re talking about building muscle mass and gaining weight
naturally, not strength.
Guess high reps isn’t the bad guy after all.