Is high-rep weight training a waste of time?

Nice study just came across. Looks like gains in strength and size can be similar, whether you lift light weights to failure, or heavy weights to failure.

Resistance exercise load does not determine training-mediated hypertrophic gains in young men

“We have reported that the acute post-exercise increases in muscle protein synthesis rates, with differing nutritional support, are predictive of longer-term training-induced muscle hypertrophy. Here, we aimed to test whether the same was true with acute exercise-mediated changes in muscle protein synthesis. Eighteen men (21±1 yr, 22.6±2.1 kg∙m-2 means±SE) had their legs randomly assigned to two of three training conditions that differed in contraction intensity (% of maximal strength [1RM]) or contraction volume (1 or 3 sets of repetitions): 30%-3, 80%-1 and, 80%-3. Subjects trained each leg with their assigned regime for a period of 10wk, 3 times/wk. We made pre- and post-training measures of strength, muscle volume by magnetic resonance (MR) scans, as well as pre- and post-training biopsies of the vastus lateralis, and a single post-exercise (1h) biopsy following the first bout of exercise, to measure signalling proteins. Training-induced increases in MR-measured muscle volume were significant (P<0.01), with no difference between groups: 30%-3 = 6.8±1.8%, 80%-1 = 3.2±0.8%, and 80%-3= 7.2±1.9%, P=0.18. Isotonic maximal strength gains were not different between 80%-1 and 80%-3, but were greater than 30% -3 (P=0.04), whereas training-induced isometric strength gains were significant but not different between conditions (P =0.92). Biopsies taken 1h following the initial resistance exercise bout showed increased phosphorylation (P<0.05) of p70S6K only in the 80%-1 and 80%-3 conditions. There was no correlation between phosphorylation of any signalling protein and hypertrophy. In accordance with our previous acute measurements of muscle protein synthetic rates a lower load lifted to failure resulted in similar hypertrophy as a heavy load lifted to failure.”

Seems to me if this is true, there would be no reason to lift light little weights for high reps. It just takes too long! (unless you like sitting there, wasting your time…)

Since the point-of-failure (where you can’t possibly physically do one more rep) is where muscular growth is initiated, the best choice of action is to hit that failure point as quickly as possible, and just get it over with! Lift heavy. Lift for a handfull of reps. Make sure you hit failure!

I find it interesting when I see folks (mostly women) in the gym lifting puny little 5 pound weights, bicep curls or whatever. They sit there for minutes, repping these weights out, and not even going to failure, but just stopping short of tiredness (or boredom!).

They are wasting so much time.

They are not hitting failure, therefore progress is slowed.

They are more or less doing “cardio”, further hindering progress through hightened cortisol and overuse of the aerobic pathway. [Read my post on the usefulness of cardio]

We need to stop looking at fitness from a man’s way vs. a woman’s way, and start looking at it from a practical standpoint. Men and women should not train that much differently. We all have the same goals, to lose fat, get shaped, and look good naked.

The fastest way to do that is to give up your stigma against heavy weight training, and just go for it. It’s the fastest way (with the proper diet, of course) to burn fat and shape your body the way you want. Muscle is the most metabolically expensive thing in your body, and is responsible for burning the most fat. It also provides a metabolic reserve, which keeps you resistant to disease and illness long into old age, and it keeps you from “bouncing back” to your previous body weight (see metabolic reserve). Plus it just looks good! Because let’s face it, Which would you rather have?











How to maintain vibrant health and good looks as you age

Aging comes with a lot of stigma these days. The slogan “I’m getting too old for this” is uttered by everyone at some point. We think that getting tired, sick, weak and slow are all part of the process. We are programmed to think that getting old inevitably includes bags, sags, and wrinkles, joint pain, cancer, heart attack, and lots of naps. Adding extra weight around our mid-sections is another accepted part of the “normal” aging process. Don’t believe any of this for one more second!

Aging does not have to come with any of that baggage.

In fact, most of these things are completely in your control. All it takes is living an active life and keeping your body in shape, while following an ancestral type diet that includes healthy animal meats and organs, vegetables and fruit, and eliminates all processed food, grains, and sugar. By doing so you will eliminate systemic inflammation, which is the cause of most modern ills and diseases. You will also find that your skin and complextion are healthier too. Lean muscle mass will provide you with the proper organ reserve to maintin strength and health through old age, and also prevents injury.

Take a look at this succss story from a 71 year old man (who looks more like 50) who has followed this type of lifestyle. Here are a couple of people (Mark Sisson, and his wife) over 50 who also have found success in an ancestral lifestyle. Here’s a few more! Gerry age 64, Paula 51, Dave 54, 65 year old mother, Norman 53, George 54.

Here is an informative list of 10 rules for aging well.

The role of lean muscle mass and organ reserve in aging

How to control your gene expression. Don’t be a victim of your own genes!

How to get that natural glow and maintain healthy skin

Is it really that easy? Yes it is! Try it for 2 weeks and tell me you don’t see immediate changes in your health and energy levels!

Like this post? Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles about getting in shape, feeling great, and controlling your genes!

Lower bodyfat setpoint.

Lose stubborn body fat. (Intermittent fasting)

Control your gene expression.

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them