So next up in my “what’s better” series is this old favourite, perhaps the most frequently asked of all frequently asked questions;
Heavier weights, or more reps?
First off heavy is a subjective term. What’s heavy for you might not be so heavy for me. And what’s heavy for me is like a warm up for some of the big boys out in the world of body building and powerlifting!
So anyway. You should ALWAYS lift heavy. Utilise different rep ranges for different purposes but always lift as heavy as possible to complete the desired amount of reps with correct form. For example if your program calls for 10 – 12 reps, ideally you would choose a weight that would not allow you to perform a 13th rep if you tried.
Usually this question pops up when women don’t seem to want to lift heavy and would rather use a tiny weight for loads and loads of reps. Some girls have argued with me (yeah, argued! with me!) that this is better because it burns more calories. But… if the weight is so light that you can perform more than say 12 – 15 reps… it’s really not heavy enough to recruit the type II muscle fibres that you really want to be hitting to get the most benefit from weight training.
Higher rep ranges of say 18 to 25 reps are useful as a warm up or “pump” set, but for the most part it’s better to lift heavier for less reps.