This is a much discussed dilemma among athletes. Let’s try to understand if it is better to do more repetitions or lift a lot of weight. If you regularly go to a gym, you have undoubtedly heard the question numerous times. Is it better to do more repetitions or to lift a lot of weight? As many times as there are people who believed they knew the right answer. In this article, we finally try to solve the dilemma that opposes a greater weight and a greater number of repetitions. So, more weight or more reps?

It is the eternal dilemma of the gym and has been solved by the study by Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise which, after analyzing different types of sprints  of some cyclists, concluded that doing a few repetitions, even just two, offers different benefits for the your fitness and cardiovascular health.

The same opinion was expressed in 2014 by a study by the University of Lillehammer according to which performing exercises with weights for five minutes, after finishing a bike session for at least 185 minutes, improves performance. Before going into the merits of the matter, it is important to clarify that if we really want to improve from a sporting point of view, we cannot think of doing just one type of training.

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Change the type of training

If we always lift the same weight, do the same number of repetitions, the consequence will be that our body will eventually get used to reaching maximum performance quickly. In this way the body tells us that it is sufficiently trained to do what is asked of it without much effort. This will no longer guarantee us any improvement or further benefits. But we must not misunderstand. The fact that our body has increased resistance is certainly a positive aspect, but we cannot stop at this result. This is the stage where we need to start introducing variations into our training and is where the question arises: more weight or more reps?

Actually both of these options are necessary in order to improve your sporting goals, but the two types of training perform very different functions. Your choice will depend on the state of form you are in and the goal you want to achieve.

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Lift more weight

Basically, the theory is very simple: if our goal is to be able to lift more weight, we will have to try to slightly increase the weight we usually lift.

However high the number of repetitions we perform, if our goal is to lift 10 kg instead of 5, we should gradually accustom our muscles to a greater load.

A key thing is to avoid forcing our body beyond its capabilities. Especially if we are at the initial stage of our training. This is due to the lack of attention we pay during these exercises. Indeed, it can cause joint muscle injuries when proper attention is not paid to performing these exercises. So what is it advisable to do? The ideal would be not to add too much weight in one go. But to gradually increase in a progressive way.

As for the number of repetitions, we can do less than we do with a lower load. Since the impulse we are giving to the muscles is totally different.

When our body has got used to the weight gain, then we can move on to the next phase, which is  to get the muscles used to the increased effort, in order to continue to exceed our limit.

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Do more repetitions

If our body recovers and becomes relaxed again, we will go back to raising that maximum that prevents us from improving, even if we have gained weight in a short time. Unless we introduce some variation to our training. There is an alternative to weight gain, which is to increase the number of repetitions.

You decide the duration of this ‘second part’ of the training cycle, at least until you are free to increase the load again.

Contrary to what many people think, increasing the number of reps also helps you ‘ get stronger ‘, just differently than you would by gaining weight.

Thanks to this training we will strengthen the muscles and increase the resistance to increased fatigue. In addition to improving endurance in the long run, practicing a high intensity activity will make us burn more calories and fat.

It is not necessary to increase the load when we increase the reps. We can simply start by lifting the weight we are used to, as we have already mentioned. It is in fact a great way to improve muscle strength, endurance and our weight lifting technique.

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Supplements: nutrition and rest

Keep in mind that training in the gym is just as important as paying close attention to the other two pillars of sports development: diet and rest.

First of all, we need to know how to choose the diet that best suits our goals.

A diet rich in high protein foods is more suitable for muscle building, without forgetting the need to integrate carbohydrates, fats and other nutrients.

As a third fundamental element there is the need to make a good recovery to make sure that the improvements obtained with training remain in our body.

For a beginner it is ideal to train two or three days a week; for an intermediate level it would take three or four days and for an advanced level it would take up to five or six days a week.

Although this is not always taken for granted. In reality there are many factors that can influence us forcing us to partially modify our training program.

One of these is certainly stress, which can negatively affect or even cause injuries.

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Conclusion: alternate the two

Instead, one could argue about the importance of making gradual progress, this is where the crux of the matter lies. When we get to the point of lifting a lot of weight, it won’t be easy. Especially to do a lot of repetitions and vice versa. So the best advice we can give to anyone who wants to work on strength is to be patient. There is no rush! Because the goals that you can achieve are potentially infinite by training with a lot of effort and constantly.

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