T Nation

What do I tell them?

Ok here is the situation. People in the gym and outside the gym come up to me and ask what is the difference between lows reps and high reps. I have read a lot of stuff, and am personally following a 8x4 program that was designed with the help of Johnnie Roman. Anyways back on the topic at hand. I was wondering what you would say to the average lifter regarding low reps and heavier weight vs. higher reps and consequently lighter weight? Just curious, because with everything that I have read I still get confused, and don’t know exactly what would be the best explanation. Thanks in advance.

tell them light weights are for pussies. that one always works.


Look into the archives of T-Mag- there are lots of articles/threads on this topic. Once you’ve read the different slants, you can make up your OWN mind. I find that’s the best way to understand a subject.

FWIW, IMO Ian King and Charles Poliquin articles would be a great place to start. T-Mag did a summary of their respective basic “principles” of training, and these should contain all the info you need to “dazzle” your buddies at the gym, and then some! Happy reading.




Well, the following is probably bullshit, not backed up by any studies, and maybe all wrong. In that case, that makes it 100% better than what they already know.

Heavy weights, Low Reps, Low sets are good for strength training. 5x5 is an example.

Heavy weights, low reps, high sets, are good for the hypertrophy of class IIb msucle fibers. See Chad Waterbury’s “Best of the Guest” in this week’s T-Mag.

LightER weights, high reps, high sets are good for hypertrophy gains while “on” or genetic mutants. OVT, GVT 2000, and GVT all fall into this category.

LightER weights, high reps, moderate sets are generally recommended for hypertrophy gains. These generally don’t do shit for me, so i don’t feel like giving an example.

I always say it depends. Because it always does. it depends on what they want to do.

Thanks guys for all the help. Especially for some of those old links to Shugs’ cliff notes. I just like to hear other people’s interpretations of what the studies say about high reps vs. low reps. I appreciate all the feedback.

Lower weight, higher reps=mass
Heaveir weight, lower reps=strength
To my understanding

I think the answer to this question is too complicated for the regular, uneducated trainer to understand. I think a lot of it depends on if you are mostly fast or slow twitch. Then you can have instances in where one body part is fast twitch and others are slow twitch. The best thing you could tell them would to try both high and low reps and find out what works better for them.

Sorry, should have added that Lonnie Lowery discusses this very topic in this weeks T-Mag. Give it a read- great stuff.


like jason said it is to complicated to explain to the average trainer. again i encourage you to refer to my previous post on this subject.

Tell them that different rep schemes hit different muscle fiber types.

Or just say “I don’t know” like I do :slight_smile:

Tell them to experiment with different rep and set protocols until they find a combination that works for their body.