Low reps, high reps, or both?

I’m doing a routine with two full body workouts and one arm workout per week. The full body workouts consist mostly of heavy combination movements. I used to do 4 sets of each exercise: 2 sets of 4-6, 1 of 8-10, and 1 of 12-15. I thought this would do a good job of working both fast and slow twitch fibers. But would it be a better idea to just do 4 sets of 4-6? What if I alternated low reps for a few weeks and then high reps for a few weeks? I guess I’m asking if I should try to get both (low and high) or focus on one. I want size and strength, strength first right now.

Go with the 5x5 program for both size and strength. You can find an example program on the getting ripped support group; post: Joel Marion, Re:

Also, check out the post on 5x5 training. The original poster was Mike Freidman. Alot of ?'s were answered on that thread; as well as plenty of explanations as to why it is an ideal approach for strength gains.

One way to get size and strength, is to increase volume. Increased volume means increased hypertrophy as long as the intensity is not maximal. In other words, dont go all out to failure, just almost to failure. The cortisol release from training to failure is too catabolic for your goals. Also focus on the eccentric portion of the lifts.

One school of thought says that each general rep range elicits a different response, and that mixing them cancels out maximum possible benifits from both. Pretty much the old training for strength and endurance argument. Why not do 4 week cycles of each. What are your goals and do you need both rep ranges. Try to get hold of Tudor Bompa’s book Periodisation of Strength.

First off why are you giving a whole day to your arms while the volume for your larger muscle groups is going to be way down due to the full body days. Are you doing any specific work on your arms during the full body days? If so this may be way to much arm work for the whole week. You’d be much better off concentrating on your larger muscle groups like back and chest for your upperbody. As a general rule hypertropy phases should be done for a base before a strength phase, but your idea of working in a specific rep range for a few weeks is a good idea, its general periodization. 4 sets of 4-6…there’s nothing wrong with it and it will help strength gains just watch the volume for the whole workout and don’t forget to adjust your rest period for your specific phases.

Thanks for the help guys. More info and more questions: On Monday I do Overhead Squats, Chins, Dips, and Squats or Lunges. Thursday I do Bench, T-bar Rows, Power Cleans, and Hack Squats. Friday I work Bis, Tris, Forearms, Grip, Calves, Abs. The arms get worked on Monday and Thursday, but not enough, so I add them on Friday with other smaller lifts. If I stick with low reps for the big lifts, do you think I should do high reps for the arms, or stay with low? Would alternating high/low reps every 4 weeks give me the best of both worlds, or diminish gains in reps and strength?