Low reps vs high reps

  1. Low reps vs high reps

    Hi all, I was just hoping for some advice on low reps vs high reps.

    I workout at home with dumbells and a kettlebell. After warmup I usually cycle alternate muscle groups on weights with or without a bench (so 3 sets each chest/back, bi/tri, etc) splitting muscle group exercises with cardio (shadowboxing) and ab floor exercises (russian twist, plank, etc).

    I know that if I want to really build size I’d need to suck up the cash, pay for the gym and get access to the bigger weights for low rep exercises, but to be honest my main intention is more toning/definition than packing on mass or size. My question is am I shooting myself in the foot sticking with the weights I’ve got instead of pushing forward to the big stuff? I am still stressing my body, i.e. the last few reps of the second and third set are near-fail, but for some stuff like bench press I’m getting up to higher reps.

    So for instance lateral raise I’m doing 3 sets x 18-20 reps @ 15kg each arm, bench press 3 sets x 30 reps @ 15kg, kettlebell clean and press 3 sets x 10 reps @ 16kg.

    Any thoughts?


  2. You are definitely in the extreme endurance/ stamina range there, and I would advice getting more weights or using the weights in more intense ways.
    15 kg is not much for bench press, but have 15kg on your shoulders feet on the bench and do push ups suddenly it becomes a lot more intense and 30 reps will drop fast.
    There are always ways of making things more intense if needed, slow reps was one of mine recently. Of course getting to a gym with loads of kit is good or alternatively getting more kit for at home as I did.

    If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, you’re probably right – Henry Ford


  3. Thanks for the advice. I’ve been doing essentially the same routine for the last year almost and just recently decided to step it up to the next notch, I was getting slack on pushing myself. Having a kettlebell’s certainly made a difference and I’m trying new variations (like the one-arm row where you’re essentially in a spread out downward dog position lifting the weight off the floor).

    I think you’re right though, I’d love to give some super heavy lifting a go but not quite prepared to stump up the fee for a gym at the moment, so home weights it is. I’ll try the slower reps. Maybe the next stage would be some 10kg plates so I can move up to benching 20/30kg with each arm.


  4. Variety is the spice of training, sorry with a username like yours I couldn’t resist, mine being so tame and all.
    I change my weight routine every 8 weeks almost religiously and know most respond best to changing between every 6 -8 weeks, those more gifted to power generally shorter, the rest of us longer.
    Change can be style of session, exercises or both. Being more than a bit crazy I tend to do a mix most times.
    Most people start out doing the same thing for a long time, I did the same thing for years as a school child and got good at those movements, nothing else, and virtually no gains at all.
    Kettles are good, I have a variety of them and rate them as very useful, if somewhat pricey. There are many ways you can make them feel heavier, throw and catch or single hand work are a couple. I like doing single arm swings where I let go at the top and catch it with the other hand, have to be confident about your lower back strength for this one.
    Leverage and impact are good ways to shift intensity, changing squats for overhead squats where you have the weight at arms length overhead or jump squats are ways to make lighter weights work you harder, be very sure you have good form and can withstand the impact before trying these of course. I don’t know how old you are but if you are at pre bone fusing age, keep impact to a pessimistic level.
    Of course nothing beats adding more iron. I can shift more on the simple movements without complications by a long way and there is something very nice about looking at an absurd amount of inanimate metal that is sat there minding it’s own business after you have finished giving it hell to move it. Maybe that’s just me, but I doubt it.

    If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, you’re probably right – Henry Ford


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