Circuit Training – Heavier Weights or More Reps?

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by Casey McIlvaine

Heavier weights or more repsWhen you head to the gym, you will more than likely see a significant contrast between various gym-goers’ resistance training. Dependent on whom you ask, there is different reasoning behind the benefits of using heavier weights with fewer reps, or lighter weights with more reps. Those working to obtain their personal trainer certification learn the pros of each, and what purpose the two methods serve.

Ultimately, it’s a good idea to incorporate both of these methods into your work out regimen. Following a program that utilizes both of these measures will assist with building muscle, increasing strength, and even losing fat.

When comparing heavier weights to more reps, one thing to take into consideration is the theory of the strength continuum. This is the framework in which strength and endurance exists. Fewer reps with heavier weight works to increase strength where high reps with lower weight works to increase endurance. In this theory, muscle fiber types are very well documented. Lower repetitions that use Type 2 muscle fiber will have greater power but end up in greater fatigue.

Another aspect of this debate is how effectively strength is built. When working on increasing strength, research supports that a low number of reps with higher weight will improve strength better than high reps with lower weight. However, with this being said, high reps with lower weight still increases strength. Larger muscles are not the only signifier of strength; it all depends on neuromuscular adaptation.

As for fat loss, does lifting heavier weights end up burning more fat or does it make you bulk up? While there are not many studies on this, one researched those who lifted heavy weights lost the same amount as those who just did cardio – however, those who just solely did cardio lost some muscle, along with the fact.

When it comes to muscle building, there are again, inconclusive results from this study. It’s hard to determine, as many studies have stated that muscle building can be just as effective with low weights and high reps, as low reps with high weights.

Applying these methods to your workouts can be daunting if you’re unsure what you need. However, someone working to obtain his or her personal trainer certification will be able to develop a plan for you. Start by figuring out what your primary goal is and let them take care of the rest.

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