Healthy Blog

Weight Training- Heavier Weights or More Reps?

Thursday, October 23, 2014



Weight training has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to build lean muscle mass, and that means it’s a great way to lose weight too. After all, by building muscles, you’re increasing your metabolism. A fast metabolism equals weight loss through the faster burning of calories and fat. It’s a win-win!

But there’s a “but”: weight training should be done in moderation if you want the best results and don’t want to endure an injury. So it’s important to understand the recommended strategies for weight training if you’re to reach your weight loss goals.

There are factors that are important for the strength building process. Firstly, progressive resistance which will stimulate change and get those muscles alive and working. Secondly, sufficient recovery time to allow for the muscles to build and repair and replace lost proteins.

Why You Need Rest

Let’s start with the rest factor. When we undergo a set of high-intensity weight exercises, our muscles actually weaken. So when you’re doing, say, a set of 8 to 12 reps to the point where your muscles are fatigued; the muscles undergo both positive and negative contractions and therefore causes trauma to the muscle tissue. This trauma is actually necessary if you want to build lean, strong muscles.

What’s more, there is a relationship between tissue trauma and the recovery time needed to repair and build the tissue. So it’s when we’re recovering from a weight training session that our muscles are building.

So, How Often Exactly?

The rule of thumb is to do weight training at least twice a week. Of course, you can increase your weight training frequency provided that you allow each muscle group a minimum of three days’ rest and recovery before training that area again.

How Long For?

If your goal is to promote weight loss, your weight training sessions need to be intense with very little rest in between each set. This is so your heart rate stays up and helps you burn more calories and fat during the training session. Aim to rest for approximately 30 to 60 seconds between sets. It’s a good idea to keep a stopwatch on you or watch the gym clock to make sure you don’t rest for too long. While the workout should be fairly quick, do avoid rushing your reps.

Back to The Rest Period

We really can’t stress the rest period enough. Lifting weights gets pretty strenuous, particularly as you start increasing your load and maximising your time by shortening the rest periods in between. This is just a recipe for major injuries. It’s absolutely vital that you space out your training sessions as well as your periods of rest to let your muscles regenerate and repair. When you rest you get to maximise muscle gains as you allow for tissues to sufficiently repair and grow while compensating for the amount of water and fat you lost during your rigorous weight training session.

What To Do if You’re a Beginner

If you’re new to weight training, aim to do strength training three times a week, after your cardio workout. By doing cardiovascular exercise first, you prepare your body for the weight training by ensuring your core temperature and heart rate are up.