High weight low reps versus low weight high reps

Including resistance training of some form in your workout routine is a really important part of a balanced programme but quite often people are unsure of how heavy to go when it comes to selecting the appropriate weight to lift. It’s not uncommon to see people either lifting something way too light, or at the other end of the spectrum something far too heavy. Not only will this hinder the goals you’re after but in the case of lifting too heavy you can put yourself at a very real risk of injury.

So the amount of weight you lift for a given exercise and the number of repetitions that you perform, all depends on your goals. Without getting too technical, if you’re aiming for muscular endurance without much change in size or strength, then a higher number of reps is required, say 12-15. If you’re after muscle gain, this can reduce down to 8-10 reps and if it’s strength you’re after, this can be anywhere from 3-6 reps. The important thing to remember though is that whichever category you’re aiming for, you select a weight which is heavy enough that by the end of the set you are struggling to complete the final rep with good form. Put simply, if you could bang out another 5, you need to lift a little heavier!

Bear in mind that there is always a bit of an overlap between these different areas as well, for example training in a strength range (3-6 reps) will still boost muscle gain and endurance to a degree, but those areas will be of a much less significant benefit.