T Nation

Training Advice: 12-25 Reps


I'm new to T-Nation and need advise. First off, a little about my self. I'm 56 and currently weigh 242 and 6'2". I'm down from about 300. I guess you would say I was a former FAT boy.

I've been lifting for about one year. Five days on and two off. Doing cardio about three times a week(30 min.ea. day) after weight training. I don't know what my BF is, guessing, about 20%. I have been lifting as heavy as possible. Most of the time 5X5 up to 5X8 on all compound lifts.

My goal in a year. Enter my first contest. Talked to a trainer and he advised a good clean diet (which I've lost 10.2 lbs. since the 12th of July) and a new workout routine.

Here's my question, he has me doing sets of all my lifts with 12 to 25 reps. How can I maintain any size with this type of lifting. I know I'm going to lose size because I have soooo much body fat the get rid of. Hope this make sense. Any advise or information is greatly appreciated.

1st Air Cav


Well, the simple answer is to stop lifting in that rep range. I don't think it's the best way to maintain size and strength. You should certainly be doing some heavier lifting. Check out the Next Big 3 by Chad Waterbury. Waterbury's Triple Total Training can also be used effectively while leaning out. EDT for Body Composition/Fat Loss by Charles Staley is another very effective program. If you choose not to do one of them, it would still help you to structure a program more in line with those parameters.


Wow, that is a LOT of weight loss.

To help you we need some more info.

Tell us what % of 1rm you are using.

Tell us what lifts you are doing.


Ditto what jsbrook wrote. Read Chad Waterbury and Dan John. And John Davies and Charles Staley. Go through the archives and read articles they wrote. Then go to the gym and do it.


Maybe you will lose some muscle mass, however you might be doing your heart a favor by doing so - muscle mass puts extra load on it as well as fat. How's your blood pressure?


Mix heavy lifting with light lifting. Like I said in a different post, your body had more than one muscle fibers. Even though lifting heavy and fast will help with the main Type IIB muscle fibers, to get maximal growth, you want to work the Type IIA and type I muscle fibers. Going in the 8-15 rep range will work these better, IMO. So, basically do reps in the 4-15 rep range and your set :slightly_smiling:

Lower reps and more power for the IIB muscle fiber and higher reps with rhythmic tempo with medium weight will help with the Type I muscle fibers. The type IIA fall in the middle.

Good luck


Franko Columbo in his very old book "Begining Wieghtlifting and Power Lifting" advised 3x25 in many lifts for the first six months to toughen and strengthen stuff like ligaments and tendons and prepare yourslef for heavier loads. I agree with Franco. I'm 48 I spent my first six months of lifting back in 1987 following Franco's advise. I've never looked bak and never regretted it. If I have a long lay off I go back to light weight and high reps for 6 to 12 weeks. My experience supports the high rep appraoch for those who haven't lifted heavy for a while.


Sounds good.

Sounds bad.

Maybe you can't? Its probably better than nothing but its not the way to maintain optimum muscle mass if that is your goal. Though if you're a newbie lifter (which you are if you've been lifting less than a year) then you probably don't have all that much gains yet (above your normal sedentary level) to maintain.

For a newbie lifter pretty much anything will work for a while including what he has you on. Like the other guy said its not a bad way to strengthen ligaments etc for lifting heavy weights latter on but over all not optimum I wouldn't have thought.

Find a new trainer? At any rate perhaps you should put the question to him what the theory behind the high rep work is (probably something along the lines of burn off the fat for now, worry about building maximum muscle size latter. Though some people would also dispute that high reps low weight is optimum for fat burning too).


  1. Flat bench (BB), inclined bench(BB),declined bench(BB), inclined flys, and pec deck.

  2. wide grip pull ups, one arm DB rows, T-bar rows, pull downs, seated cable rows, and dead lifts.

  3. Squats, over head squats, front squats, leg extentions, walking lunges, straight leg dead lift, and leg curls.

  4. claves and abs

5.Military press, Arnold presses, side laterials, and rear laterials.

  1. BB curls, DB curls, hammer curls, preacher curls, overhead tri extentions, push downs with close grip and wide grip,and narrow grip bench press.


you are right, it is to burn more fat.


BP is stable at 116/70 checked every other day.


Sounds great. I think you should start dropping the reps and increasing the weight.


Hypertrophy Specific Training

2 weeks of 15's
2 weeks of 10's
2 weeks of 5's

Rest for one week, begin the cycle again. Make the last day of each 2 week cycle your max for that rep range. Do at most 2 sets for each of your lifts. Whole-body training for each training day (I use M-W-F).

You can read more about this by doing a search on this site.

BTW: I am 50 and similar to you. HST is the only thing that ever worked for me.


Thanks all for your input.

1st Air cav