Congratulations! We’re on to week 2 of the Maintain Don’t Gain holiday challenge at Synergy Personal Fitness Training. This week we’re switching our focus from strength to endurance or high rep training. That means we’ll be going for high rep sets of 15 or more repetitions using lighter weights in our resistance training.
There’s a long-standing misconception that any kind of weight training will make you “bulk up.” So, too often people are reluctant to incorporate resistance training into their routines for fear of adding size or gaining weight. But, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, high rep training comes with some pretty attractive benefits.
Training with lighter weights (30 – 60% of your one rep maximum) for more reps will actually:
- Decrease your body fat as you add lean muscle to your body – A study examined the results people got from lifting heavy weights vs. lifting lighter weights for higher repetitions. It showed that those who worked with lighter weights saw a notable increase in muscle tone and definition with a decrease in body fat percentages.
- Increase your muscle strength – You don’t need to be a powerlifter to get strong using weights. In fact, lifting less weight for more reps helps you get stronger with less risk of injury.
- Build endurance – High rep training is very effective in building stamina for training, exercises like running or cycling and gives you sustained energy for everyday tasks.
Here are some tips to consider for high rep/low weight training:
- Don’t go too low. Shoot for a weight that is about half of what you could lift comfortably. If it feels too easy, it’s probably not working.
- Work to fatigue. With high rep training, the key to achieving results is working to the point of muscle fatigue. That means the last two or three reps of each set should be difficult to complete.
- High rep does not equal high speed. Perform each rep completely and at a moderate pace to achieve the best results.
- Switch it up. Add in a few heavier weight exercises periodically to avoid plateauing.
You don’t have to be an expert athlete for high rep workouts to benefit you. In fact, research shows that beginner or intermediate exercisers are those who see the most results from high rep workouts. So, if lean and toned muscle is what you’re going for — and really, who isn’t?– high rep training is an excellent way to get there.