Higher reps with less weight vs. less reps with more weight

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karmagini
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Higher reps with less weight vs. less reps with more weight

Post by karmagini » Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:12 am

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/5-fa ... ies?page=2

"To maximize the fat burning during weight training, women should aim for 12 to 15 repetitions per exercise, White says, and focus on a higher number of reps rather than constantly boosting the weight. Men should aim for eight to 12 reps and increase the weight periodically."

Why does this concept get stated so much, especially in regards to women who are weight-lifting? If women generally do not bulk up from weight-lifting, why are we told to do this?

It is more time-efficient for me to do a few sets with 8-10 reps, with a weight that is more challenging. And why shouldn't women periodically increase the weight? Shouldn't we be focused on continually challenging the body/muscles? Is there a benefit to this concept I'm not understanding???


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Post by stuward » Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:29 am

Moderate intensity exercise, whether weight training or "cardio", generally increases your appetite and will generally cause you to gain fat. High intensity training (not to be confused with HIT) whether interval trg or high load/low volume resistance training increases strength, builds productive muscle and stimulates your heart without affecting your appetite too much. Low intensity training burns calories without increasing your appetite. Therefore it seems to me that the best approach for fat loss is also the best approach for athletic performance and for general fitness. That's high intensity weight training and interval training alternated with lower intensity activities that are enjoyable, like walking or sports.

And you're right, there is no difference between the way men should train and the way women should train.

By the way, 8 to 15 reps generally will build up the fluids in the muscles making them appear larger although not much stronger. 8-12 is the "hypertrophy" range while 12-15 is the "endurance" range but there is carry over between the two. Women and men who want to gain strength but don't care as much about size, do better with lower reps in the 1-5 range. This builds relative strength and increases the size of the muscle fibers without adding bulk. It seems to me this would be a desirable goal for most women.

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Post by stuward » Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:52 am

That article has some dietary recommendations that are questionable. It seems most RDs just spout the same misinformation produced by faulty research sponsored by big agriculture. Basically anything that White and Sedlock agreed on looks OK. If it just says "White says" ignore it.

This is the statment that I find most offensive: "Diets with at least three daily servings of [low-fat] dairy products speed weight loss and body fat loss in obese people compared to a diet with little dairy." The only reason this works is because it displaces pop and other high calorie crap but too much milk is worse than too little and no one needs more than 3 servings of dairy.

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Re: Higher reps with less weight vs. less reps with more wei

Post by pdellorto » Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:58 am

karmagini wrote:Why does this concept get stated so much, especially in regards to women who are weight-lifting? If women generally do not bulk up from weight-lifting, why are we told to do this?
Good question. I don't know...I think you're told to do this for misguided reasons.
karmagini wrote:It is more time-efficient for me to do a few sets with 8-10 reps, with a weight that is more challenging. And why shouldn't women periodically increase the weight? Shouldn't we be focused on continually challenging the body/muscles? Is there a benefit to this concept I'm not understanding???
I think you're seeing the logical flaw here - that somehow men's muscles respond to 8-12 reps with progressive resistance but women respond to 12-15 reps with progressive rep increases.

I mean, makes you wonder if you're supposed to increase reps all the time, but somehow the weight you were able to handle on your first session for 12-15 reps was the perfect weight to handle forever.

I think the recommendation is flawed at best. Women can be trained a little differently than men but they don't need to be. Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgore mention in the book Starting Strength that 51% of the population doesn't count as a special population. Women may top out at lower weights but they can be trained the same way.

If you want to do 8-10 reps and progressive weight, go for it. I'd back Stu's advice on even lower reps, like sets of 5.

There are a couple of articles on getting stronger without getting bigger, and women's weight training in general, here:

http://www.stumptuous.com/

Her beginner's workouts do stick with 12-15 reps, but they have you upping the weight. The book New Rules of Lifting For Women is also good...I reviewed it here:

http://strength-basics.blogspot.com/search/label/NROL4W


Sorry for the big long response. I just get annoyed every time I read workout advice that boils down to "men should lift for 8-12 reps, women for 12-15" as if that was the end-all be-all of workouts. They usually include advice about the importance of sticking to machine-based exercises and not working too hard. Aargh!

Hope that helps,

Peter

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Re: Higher reps with less weight vs. less reps with more wei

Post by stuward » Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:14 pm

pdellorto wrote:
karmagini wrote:...
Sorry for the big long response. I just get annoyed every time I read workout advice that boils down to "men should lift for 8-12 reps, women for 12-15" as if that was the end-all be-all of workouts. They usually include advice about the importance of sticking to machine-based exercises and not working too hard. Aargh!

Hope that helps,

Peter
Google "Tracy Anderson".


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Re: Higher reps with less weight vs. less reps with more wei

Post by pdellorto » Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:27 pm

stuward wrote:Google "Tracy Anderson".
That's....that's just cruel man.


From a Guardian article about her - "Beware of the gym: the weights are too heavy."

Or

"Think high reps, low weights. "For me, fitness is all about high repetitions and low resistance. I mean 60 reps with 10 different exercises using weights of three pounds or below.""

Oh yeah. All designed to "correct nature's flaws." Like the flaw where lifting heavy stuff makes you stronger, fitter, healthier, and more attractive? Or the flaw where you don't send Tracy Anderson your money?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/ ... er-madonna

Ouch, ouch, ouch.


(Oh, yeah, a PS - that Rippetoe quote I mentioned earlier is also on this site:
http://www.exrx.net/WeightTraining/Weig ... Women.html )

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Post by TimD » Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:59 pm

Back to the original post. I think the boat was missed by Pete and Stu. The article linked was about fat loss. NOT weight training in general, and while I agree about no difference between men and women, the linked articles approach is a type of full body interval training with weights. Moderate weigts,, shorter rest breaks, etc. It focuses on raising the metabolism, etc, much like Poliquin's "Manly Weight Loss" ideas. Poliquin recommends using circuits, full body or anywhere from 4-8 exercises, alternating from upper to lower, and going through them with as little rest as possible. Of course the weights will be submaximal, but the idea is to stimulate the metabolism, not build strength/size. This is similar to the old PHA system of the 60's and 70's. Peripheral Heart Action.
Tim

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Post by pdellorto » Wed Feb 25, 2009 2:54 pm

TimD wrote:The article linked was about fat loss. NOT weight training in general, and while I agree about no difference between men and women, the linked articles approach is a type of full body interval training with weights.
It's true it was about fat loss, but I don't think it's approach was really conducive to getting that result.

Tip #1 comes right out and says you can't spot reduce, and says you should do a full body exercise but then it makes recommendations (in #3) based on a philosophy that sounds like spot reduction:

"You can incorporate the full-body weight training exercises that focus on your flabby areas, of course, White says. "For the muffin top, focus on the [abdominal] oblique muscles by doing bicycle kicks," he says, "or do oblique twists with the cable [weight] machine.""

and

"For flabby upper arms, you can do dumbbell kickbacks with hand weights."

If you can't spot reduce, and focusing on your triceps for flabby upper arms or ab exercises for your belly won't work, why does it recommend them?

It repeatedly makes supportable statements (look at #4 and "crunching fat") and then undermines them with its advice. Crunches won't slim your midsection, but "toning" your abs might help anyway.

I just feel like that article is pretty cruddy. I don't walk away from that thinking "I should send this to my friends looking to lose some weight, because it's rock-solid advice." It's pretty empty stuff...it's recommendations are vague when they're correct and sub-optimal at best when they're specific. About the only good advice is to try interval cardio, do full-body work, and to eat more small meals instead of fewer big ones. But other articles and books give the same advice with much better concrete ways of following it.

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Post by karmagini » Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:38 pm

TimD wrote:Back to the original post. I think the boat was missed by Pete and Stu. The article linked was about fat loss. NOT weight training in general, and while I agree about no difference between men and women, the linked articles approach is a type of full body interval training with weights. Moderate weigts,, shorter rest breaks, etc. It focuses on raising the metabolism, etc, much like Poliquin's "Manly Weight Loss" ideas. Poliquin recommends using circuits, full body or anywhere from 4-8 exercises, alternating from upper to lower, and going through them with as little rest as possible. Of course the weights will be submaximal, but the idea is to stimulate the metabolism, not build strength/size. This is similar to the old PHA system of the 60's and 70's. Peripheral Heart Action.
Tim
But if you are weight-lifting to a point where you are gaining strength, shouldn't this benefit you in losing more fat? Wouldn't more muscle, more exertion of calories, and an increased metabolism all be better achieved by more of a challenge in weight-lifting?

I think the part that bothered me the most about the article was suggesting women shouldn't "constantly boost the weight." Too many people (especially women) neglect the importance of your exercise routine being challenging enough. I can't tell how many I see at my gym just going through the motions.

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Post by Matt Z » Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:01 pm

I agree with you there. A person can't expect to continue making progress without training progressively. Doing the same weight for the same sets and reps week after week just isn't going to cut it.
Last edited by Matt Z on Thu Feb 26, 2009 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Ironman » Thu Feb 26, 2009 4:53 am

I find it offensive. Basically he is saying "ok men, do weight training right and actually get something out of it. As for you women, just go to the weight and waste time."

Since when does estrogen and a vagina have anything to do with repetition range? Well today I'm doing supersets because I still have my tonsils. Tomorrow I am going to the grocery store, so of course I have to do pyramids. What if you are a hermaphrodite with a hormone imbalance, 1 working kidney, who's lactating and just had an appendectomy? Then there is the transgendered, you may want to be a woman but can you live with the rep range? What if I go to Wal-Mart tomorrow? What kind of a workout will I have to do then? If I go after I workout that will give me another day to figure it out.......

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Post by quadfrog » Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:39 pm

Ironman wrote:Since when does estrogen and a vagina have anything to do with repetition range?
That gets my vote for post of the year!

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Post by brook011 » Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:38 am

Screw that strategy! I've seen women at my gym repping 185. I was terrified. Up the weight haha.


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