As most of you know from my previous posts, I’m a big advocate of low volume training, meaning I normally use a weight that allows me to hit total muscle failure within 5-6 reps. However, high repetitions has its place as well. The benefits of muscular endurance is actually pivotal for recreational and professional athletes, and I definitely recommend using lighter weights at a higher rep from time to time if you engage in any type of sport.
High Repetition Workout Explained
It’s generally accepted that a low rep range (five reps max) is ideal for building strength, while 6-12 reps builds mass. Anything above that is typically considered endurance work. While I’m more of a low volume workout type of guy, I do enjoy higher volume training every now and then just for the sake of giving my muscles a workout it’s not as accustomed to.
The frequency of a high repetition workout depends on your goal. If you’re primarily trying to build muscle, then I recommend keeping most workouts within the high to mid-rep range with an occasional high volume training thrown in, perhaps once every two to three weeks.
On the other hand, if you’re engaged in some type of sport, then incorporate high-rep training more frequently, perhaps twice a week. I also recommend emphasizing on the muscle that’s used for your given sport. If you’re a recreational kayaker, for instance, then you should be performing a lot of back exercises like rows to simulate the motions of rowing a pair of paddles.
Regardless of your sport, though, I highly recommend performing squats. Squats work the lower body, which consists of the biggest muscle groups. As such, using a lighter weight that enables you to hit failure at around 20 plus reps will without a doubt build amazing lung power. Being able to move and physically put your body under strain for prolonged periods is vital for excelling in most sports.
High Reps Still Builds Muscle
The consensus is that high volume training does not build mass. However, one study does seem to show that muscle growth is possible when employing high volume training. The research showed that participants that performed leg extensions using a light weight for 30-40 reps made just as much muscle gains in their quads as a group that used a much higher weight at 10-12 reps.
Of course, this is just one study, but it does show that, contrary to popular wisdom, high volume training also stimulates muscle growth to some degree. With this in mind, don’t think you have to sacrifice muscle growth for the sake of increasing muscular endurance; it’s never all one or the other.
Remember to Train to Failure
Regardless of whether you’re performing low or high reps, remember to always train to failure. I can’t stress this enough; even if you’re more interested in the endurance aspect rather than packing on mass, you still need to train to the point where your muscles can’t do another rep. Otherwise, you’re not reaping the benefits of muscular endurance that you seek.
The photo below was sent in by a student of mine. He followed a protocol very much like what you see here in this blog post.
It doesn’t mean you have to take supplements to get these results, but as you can see it can help speed things up in a healthy way.
Of course, I recognize that training to failure is no easy task, which is why I recommend Rebellion. This pre-workout formula will help push you to your absolute limit even as the lactic acid buildup creates the intense muscle burn that would force lesser mortals to stop short of absolute failure.