T Nation

Switching to High-Rep Training


I've always trained with low-volume, and heavy weights. Basically I've been doing this for the entire 23 years I've been training and have built my bodyweight up to the mid 240lb range at a body fat around 15%. I've espoused a powerlifting/functional strength style and avoided the "bodybuilder" style of training with light weight and high reps just to pump up the muscle for looks. Now that I'm in my mid-30's I've noticed with the help of x-rays of my spine, I can't go super heavy anymore due to calcifications of vertebrae, impingements, chronically sore tendons and joints etc. So I'm now looking forward to a new phase of training where I'll maintain the muscle I have while rehabing old injuries and avoiding new ones. I'll be replacing heavy weight with much lower weight and faster reps and doing more cardio. For health reasons I feel I should weigh around 220lb and not 240lb. at 5'10'', and possibly get my bodyfat down close to 10%.

Has anyone else in their 30's or 40's had to change to a routine like this? I plan to do 20+ reps on all sets, and doing leg press and hack instead of regular squats, and not going to failure, but looking to work to muscles with good form, and not worry so much about my strength.


light weight and high reps? what?


Have you read through "The Perfect Rep" article?

Leaned about "ramping" and "auto regulation?"

Learned how to incorporate "max rep" circuits?

Committed yourself 100% to the nutritional aspect of training?

If not, do so. You'll find that you don't need to train "light" or switch to higher reps to avoid some of the orthopedic and health issues you have illustrated.


benchaffleck -

I'm looking 40 in the face. I've had 2 nasty injuries, one a back injury, that after some years I still deal with with my lifting. Having said that, I'm a 500+ raw squatter and go heavy as I can as often as I can and still getting bigger and stronger (still feel like a beginner, though).

I go through phases of heavy low reps and higher rep schemes (about the same volume) depending on how I feel that day/week and what body part is acting up or feeling strong.

Check out the "Over 35" forum for some really strong 'old' people. There are 60 year old competive bodybuilders, a bunch of 5/3/1'ers, men, women powerlifters, olympic throwers, and a bunch of other strong folks doing a variety of things, each one with an entertaining and informative log.

One woman in her 40's at about 120-130 bw (sorry if I'm guessing high if you're reading this) is squatting 345 and repping 315-- effectively putting many of 'teh boyz' on this site to shame.

Listen to what your body tells you and stick with what works!