In the field of health and fitness, many people consider working out in the gym as a way to burn fat, enhance their physique, and maintain their maximum health. Generally, it is believed that weights and the number of repetitions of an exercise or a routine are factors that determine the efficiency of the workout. For some people, the combo of high repetition and low volume weight is design to increase muscle definition while low repetition with higher weight is aimed towards muscle mass.
According to Built Lean, the Strength Continuum defines the dynamics among weight, repetitions, and training outcome with the interplay between strength and endurance. As per the publication, strength is represented by one repetition maximum or 1RM, which is defined as the highest volume or weight that can be lifted for one repetition. On the other hand, endurance is referred to as the person’s ability to unleash a lower force repetitively over a period.
Hypertrophy, which means muscle building is not totally an accurate label, according to Built Lean. In a table, it is suggested that hypertrophy is achieve in 6 to 12 repetitions per set at 60 to 80 percent of 1RM. On the other hand, one should perform between one to five sets with 80 to 90 percent of 1RM if he is training for strength while 15 repetitions with less than 40 percent of 1RM if he is training for endurance.
If one is targeting strength, evidenced based data indicated that low repetitions with heavy weight should be done, rather than higher repetitions with lighter weight. However, it does not mean that higher repetitions could not elicit strength gains. In the trial, 23 cyclists were set up into high resistance-low repetition, low resistance-high repetition, and cycling-only groups for a 10-week program. The results revealed that the low resistance group had significantly boosted strength gains than the high resistance group in doing the leg press exercise. It was also noted that muscle hypertrophy and maximum endurance remained the same.
Many people think that lifting heavy weights in low repetitions equals building more muscle and lifting light weights in high repetitions burn fat. In fact, a study conducted at the University of Alabama in Birmingham revealed that dieters who lifted heavier weights had reduced their weight as those who only did cardio exercises. However, it was also found out that weight lifters lost fat while the cardio group lost fat, along with muscle. It is believed that high repetitions with light weight can yield a muscular response, but it did not necessarily get rid of fat better than low repetitions with heavy weight. Others also believe that the intensity of the workout remains as the prime factor that burns fat and not necessarily the amount of weight that is used or the number of repetitions done.
Aside from the Strength Continuum, the Neural-Metabolic Continuum is another scale that helps a person see the differences between extremes in weights and repetitions. Key variables allow a person to understand whether one actually works his muscles or the central nervous system (CNS), as per Bodybuilding.
According to the Neural-Metabolic Continuum, the left side of the scale is the neural part while the right side is the metabolic part. The neural side involves more sets with fewer repetitions per set, shorter time, and longer rest. On the other hand, the metabolic side features fewer sets with increased repetitions per set, longer time under tension, and shorter set.
With such information on the differences between repetitions and weight volume, the maximum effect of the workout is also determined by factors like nutrition, rest, and attitude.