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What's Better: More Reps or Less

I’ve been lifting for about 1 1/2 years. I keep trying to mix it up a little. I have always done Squats and Deadlifts. I went with 5X5 on each. Lately I have changed to 5X8 on each. I did lower the weight I was using in order to do more reps.

For the Deadlift I started this. I went from
5X145 TO this: 8X140
5X170 8X170
5X190 8X190
5X210 8X210
5X260 8X240

The 8 reps gives me a lot more work as far as weight lifted. I guess what I’m asking is, would it be better to stay with the 5X5 and keep trying to increase the weight or use the 8 reps and do more total work. I switched from the 5X5 because it seemed I was really taxed at trying to lift more than 260. Any comments will be appreciated.

You could try 8x5 instead. When you finish your top set, drop back in weight, repeat the last three sets again. This will give you even more volume.

Waving the weights can be a very successful strategy. Ian King has an article about it on this site.

Thanks for the feedback sharetrader. I will find that article.

The reps/weight debate has been going on since the beginning of bodybuilding and the reason that it continues to this day is that people get results with both systems. The other thing to consider is that you don’t have to choose; you can do both. I use a cascading system of reps and weights in two week blocks. For two weeks, I try to lift in the 10 rep range. As soon as I am able to go to 12 reps, I add weight to get me back to ten. After two weeks, I go to an eight rep system, then six, then four, then three and then repeat the whole process again. Gradually, my weights at all levels increase. Keeping a log keeps me on track and motivated to try harder every time I lift.

There is no one “best” way to workout. If there was, we’d all be doing it!

I do very high reps (50+), then finish with 2’s and 3’s.

What’s better? The one you haven’t done in a while.

Thanks for the replies folks. I just started changing it up a bit, because it seemed I hit a wall. So, I changed up the reps and sets and even started using the dumbells since almost all my lifts are compounds using barbells.

[quote]jp_dubya wrote:
What’s better? The one you haven’t done in a while.[/quote]

Bastard, you stole my response!

I think dubya got it for the most part.

The other part of it is, what is your goal?

Bigger muscles? more weight lifted?

Have you even tried to do more than 260? It’s hard to push yourself in the gym, but sometimes you just have to suck it up put more weight on the bar and lift it.

<The other part of it is, what is your goal?>

My goal is to make continuous progress. I look at this as a life-long process. There is no rush or time-line for me.

<Bigger muscles? more weight lifted?>

Well, both actually. I just want to be stronger, healthier, and look good. I’m accomplishing those things by lifting, running sprints and the bleachers, and eating good food. I went from 5’10" 206 pounds fat-beer-belly, to 192 lbs. I’m pretty lean but not ripped by any stretch. Not bad for 53 years old, though.

<Have you even tried to do more than 260? It’s hard to push yourself in the gym, but sometimes you just have to suck it up put more weight on the bar and lift it.>

Truthfully, Ive never tried a personal best lift for poundage. I really don’t care how much I can lift, but I do want to make progress on the reps and sets, or by adding more weight. This I think equates to making progress. I found that at the end of the 5X5 I was getting pretty fatigued and even though I could finish that last 5th lift with good form, my grip was about gone and I was pooped.

I had been doing the same routine for a long time, so it seemed a change was in order. I’ll see. Thanks again for the replies.

Here’s another idea you might find useful:

Week Sets Reps Weight
1 4 10 120 (say)
2 5 8 140
3 6 7 160
4 7 6 180
5 8 5 200
6 10 4 220
Then repeat with higher weights
7 4 10 150
…and so on.

It takes a long time for this type of progression to become stale. Also gives you a good mix of hypertrophy and strength rep ranges. The drop back in weight in week 7 is a refreshing break after the higher weights.

I do a routine similar to what sharetrader suggests and it works great for me. I also keep a log to force myself to do more each workout. If I’m in a ten rep cycle and I did ten reps last workout, I try for eleven reps with the same weight today.

Then twelve reps next workout and if I hit the twelve, I go back to ten with more weight. At least try to do more reps and/or weight with every workout.

I’ve actually switched to the routine as suggested by Sharetraders last post. I’ve also started using dumbells versus just a barbell. It left me a little sore which I think is great. I guess I’m hitting those muscles differently and the body just isn’t used to it. Anyway, guys I really appreciate the help and suggestions I’ve received on this post.

Being in the Over 35 section: make sure to take care of your heart. Before any lifting, run (or some other aerobic) for 60-90 minutes 3 to 5 days per week.

It also pays to lift right after your run. Being over 35, your not going to look like Arnold anyway, so make yourself more hardcore, like the warriors of old, who might have to run all day then go into combat.

hello headhunter, I also sprint and run bleachers at the local stadium twice a week. I just had a full-physical and the doc said I was healthy as a horse. I’m trying to incorporate the whole package of nutrition, weights, sprints, and rest. It’s been working great so far. The doc was impressed and told me that stuff is done by 33 year olds not 53 year olds. I got a chuckle out of that one.

[quote]Headhunter wrote:
Being in the Over 35 section: make sure to take care of your heart. Before any lifting, run (or some other aerobic) for 60-90 minutes 3 to 5 days per week.

It also pays to lift right after your run. Being over 35, your not going to look like Arnold anyway, so make yourself more hardcore, like the warriors of old, who might have to run all day then go into combat.[/quote]

I don’t really see why this makes sense at any age. Why can’t you lift hard three days a week, run hard another 3 and take 1 totally off? Being fresh for each workout and giving it, it’s proper do. Or if you’re on a split progam that calls for more lifitng sessions per week do a double a few days. And separate lifting and cardio.

I just noticed your Avatar. Awesome memorial!