Student: Sir, I am doing 10, 000 reps of abs, 20,000 reps of biceps and 15,000 reps of chest every day. How soon can I look like Arnold Schwarzenegger?
Me: giggles (lolz never).
Low rep or high rep?
Low weight or heavyweight?
The theory: (Origin: Unknown) When you want to bulk you should lift heavy with low reps. When you want to cut you should lift lighter weights with as many reps as possible and as little rest as possible.
Let’s first look at the principle & potential of muscle building in our body.
The first principle of muscle building is time under tension.
What it simply means is how much time the said muscle (for example biceps) is stressed or under tension.
So when you lift a barbell, the time to do the rep is time under tension. The amount of weight we lift is tension.
What’s really important to understand is that both time and tension are important. So when you lift to get maximum benefits you should lift heavy weights and the time of the rep should be longer. Ideally, it should be 2 secs up and 3-4 secs down.
Now, let’s look at the muscle building potential of our body.
Our muscles are mainly made up of slow twitch and fast twitch fibres. So when you lift you are engaging both kinds of fibres. However, the fast twitch fibres are the powerhouse, they possess the maximum potential to develop and get bigger. Slow twitch is for endurance, more beneficial for runners, bicycle riders.
As a bodybuilder, your focus should be on developing as many fast twitch fibres as possible.
So from the muscle building point of view, it makes sense to lift heavy weights from low reps. However, keep in mind the time effect, muscle growth is time under tension and not just tension. If you are cheating and jerking your lifts it won\’t help!
What about fat loss?
Let’s say you are able to lift 30 kg on barbell curl, that you muscles capacity. You’ve got 16-inch gun and now you plan to get ripped. We go back to our theory high reps, low weights.
What happens next is, if you think about, you will hit less and less of fast twitch muscle fibres. Your time under tension will decrease. You would be doing a lot of reps but the amount of tension would be considerably reduced.
What this signals to muscle mass? I am not required anymore since he is not lifting heavy weight anymore. I am going tataa.
And before you realize your body loses the reason to hold muscle mass.
And it happens with so many people, you lose fat and muscle both and become a smaller version of yourself rather than getting ripped.
So, what’s the solution here? Simple! Lift heavy to build and maintain muscle. Use cardio and diet to lose fat.