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RUSSTHESKIGUY SparkPoints: (3,762)
Fitness Minutes: (4,673)
Posts: 119
5/15/12 6:30 A

Plenty of other good posts on rep ranges so I won't comment on that. Just remember that if you are going to lift heavy it is critical that you warm up properly beforehand. At a minimum you should do a warmup set for each new muscle group (lots of different opinions but I usually do about 60% of the weight I plan to use on the normal sets). For certain exercises like squats and bench press I use two warmup sets (1 @ 60% and 1 at 80%) but mostly just one. If you are doing multiple exercises on the same body part like flat bench then decline or incline bench press, you wouldn't necessarily need to do a warmup set for those follow on exercises. If you go to a different body part, then yes do another warmup set. Also a few minutes of light cardio is a pretty good way to warm up your muscles prior to lifting as well. I normally hit a stationary bike for 5 minutes before I lift. Finally, if using heavy weight make sure that you use proper form. No point in lifting heavier weights if you have to lift improperly to do it. Failure to use proper form and warm up can lead to injuries which will keep you out of the gym for awhile and definitely impede your progress. Also, if you are just starting out, you don't necessarily have to push every exercise to failure. I would recommend not going to failure anyways for the first couple weeks at least. This is a long journey, allow your body to acclimate to lifting without pummeling it at first. If you lift too hard right off the bat, you will be so sore that you can't go back to the gym for awhile anyways. Moderation is usually the smartest choice. Happy lifting!

5/15/12 12:13 A

If you want to see (or talk about) real results of a strength training program when undertaken by an out of shape, rated 'obese' woman, you can peek at my blog. Highly recommend an defined program- whichever you choose- with both nutritional information and exercise outlined (because weight training requires a different type of diet than you are used to). There are tons of free ones out there- I happened to use LiveFit.
Best wishes for your success.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (60,614)
Fitness Minutes: (15,222)
Posts: 9,707
5/14/12 9:58 P

DVLSHANGEL1: Total myth, and here's the facts:

5/14/12 9:35 P

You will not bulk up unless you steal some testosterone from your husband or boyfriend when they are comatose.

DVLSHANGEL1 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (30)
Posts: 12
5/14/12 9:22 P

Hi all I never have strength trained but it sounds like there may be some good benefits to it. emoticon I do have another question too, as a woman do you bulk up if you strength train or is that just a myth? I have no issue with women who want large muscles but Im not one of them. emoticon I dont want to get huge muscles thanks for the feedback.

TCHRSHEA Posts: 228
5/14/12 9:04 P

At the gym I do heavy weights so that I can barely do 12. At home, when I'm watching tv, or even sometimes at work, I only have lighter weights, so I do stuff with many reps, sometimes while walking in place (I got the idea from the Leslie Sansone videos).

LEARNINGWITHLIZ SparkPoints: (20,646)
Fitness Minutes: (12,135)
Posts: 891
5/14/12 8:00 P

Thanks everyone for your fabulous input. I greatly appreciate it all!

TERRI_PA191 Posts: 202
5/14/12 4:53 P

Thank you for all the useful info!!

INFINITEJESS84 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (6,088)
Posts: 304
5/14/12 2:27 P

Hgh weight. 8-12 reps. Compound exercises. Free weights. Remember to rest. Repeat.

JENMC14 Posts: 2,786
5/14/12 1:02 P

Chardonnay, building on M@L's excellent post, yes, you can lose muscle as well as fat if you're not doing adequate strength training, just like those seeking to add muscle mass will inevitably also gain fat, no matter how "clean" they eat when bulking. Doing a good strength program will help to repserve the muscle that you already have.

As M@L said, you can vary your reps, too. Do a warm-up set, then go to a weight you're comfortable at. If 12 feels good, and you're not totally fatigued, go up a few pounds. You can olny do 6? No problem, try it again. You can only do 5, that's fine. Keep add it, and your strength will increase as well.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,364
5/14/12 12:41 P


It is pretty common to be able to do fewer reps in the 2nd and subsequent sets (especially if you aren't resting long between sets). The key point in strength training is not so much about achieving a specific number of reps, it is about fatigueing your muscles in 12 reps or less (and fatigueing your muscles means you feel you cannot do another rep with the correct form). And using a weight where you can only do 8 reps is actually more effective than one where you can do 12 reps. So it sounds like you are at about the right weight now, and perhaps about to graduate to a slightly heavier weight?

Also, the calorie burning effect of strength training comes not so much from adding new muscle tissue, but rather from making your EXISTING muscle tissue more metabolically active. But either way the recommendation is the same - lift heavy.


WILSON1926 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (33,881)
Posts: 1,833
5/14/12 12:03 P

Heavy weight where I can only do about 10-12 reps

TERRI_PA191 Posts: 202
5/14/12 12:01 P

Thanks JENMC14. Although all of that does confuse me a bit. So I could be burning muscle and not fat? I know that I don't have much muscle. I'm a lazy stay at home mom so I'm not on my feet much. The past few weeks since my life style change has started (not calling it a diet) I have been hitting the gym and walking, cycling and also doing the strength machines every time I'm there.

I've been trying to keep my calories at 1200-1400. There were a few day that I did eat under 1200. Which I know is not a good idea.

Edited by: TERRI_PA191 at: 5/14/2012 (12:07)
SCTK519 Posts: 2,085
5/14/12 11:57 A

Heavier weights. Definitely!

5/14/12 11:55 A

The mantra of "low weights and high repetitions for toning" is as false as the marketing concept of "toning". High weight, low repetitions work the fast twitch muscles which are about explosive strength and power. Low weight and high repetitions work the slow twitch muscles which are more about endurance and stamina. Some individuals alternate programmes between the two to develop more all around muscle function. I have created this type of programme in the past and you will find one on the Spark team "Resistance band and bodyweight training."

Having wasted a lot of gym time doing bodybuilder type workouts with all of the misconceptions to be found in those programmes I have evolved my thinking toward building strength first with challenging weights and low repetitions with my clients. This means full body and compound movement exercises and no split workouts or isolation exercises. For my more advanced clients I will will add in a short period of low weight high repetition work to add an endurance dimension and build the slow twitch muscle fibers.

TERRI_PA191 Posts: 202
5/14/12 11:53 A

lol, yeah 2 sets of 12 reps :-)

JENMC14 Posts: 2,786
5/14/12 11:35 A

Chardonnay1234 - by "2 reps of 12" do you mean 2 sets of 12 reps? If so, that is fine. However, while you may experience "newbie" gains in muscle at first, just know that if you're eating at a deficeit, you likely won't build a ton of muscle. However, it is good to keep your loss coming from muscle. But, to truly gain muscle mass, one must eat at a caloric surplus and get adequate protein.

CHEETARA79 SparkPoints: (101,337)
Fitness Minutes: (99,848)
Posts: 3,673
5/14/12 11:30 A

I also vote for high weight, low rep.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,364
5/14/12 11:27 A

For nearly all purposes for which you might consider strength training (whether gaining strength, boosting metabolism, increasing muscle mass, strengthening bones and tendons, or reducing muscle wastage), you should aim at a heavy weight and fewer reps.

The only benefit for lighter weight more reps is muscular endurance, and that comes at the expense of the other benefits.


TERRI_PA191 Posts: 202
5/14/12 11:20 A

I signed on to ask the same question. In my case I am using weights to build muscle so I burn more calories = weight loss. So when I go to the gym and do 2 reps of 12 on a machine is that what I should be doing? Or should I be doing a lighter weight so I could do more reps. Usually after the 2 reps I couldn't do any more at that weight.

JENMC14 Posts: 2,786
5/14/12 11:15 A

Depends on you rgoals. If you just want muscular endurance, do higher reps, but Is till wouldn't just go with low weights, at least make it challenging. If you want to build muscle, stay in the 8-12 reps untilfatigue range. For strength, 5 reps or less for fatigue (basically lifting almost as heavy as you can). I am currently doing a progressive program that started with 8 reps and builds to 12. I'm in the week where I'mdoing 11 reps. I would suggest and 8-12 rep program and just tinker around with what weight feels right. Check out New Rules of Lifting for Women or Starting Strength. I haven't read either of those (currently reading New Rules of Lifting, the non-women's version), but I've seen them thrown around as good starting points a lot on a bodybuilding site I frequent as well as here.

Edited by: JENMC14 at: 5/14/2012 (11:15)
LEARNINGWITHLIZ SparkPoints: (20,646)
Fitness Minutes: (12,135)
Posts: 891
5/14/12 11:04 A

So I am wanting to get back into weight training. I was wondering whether to go low weight, high reps or higher weight and lower reps? What do you do and/or recommend?

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