You’re far from being a couch potato and you may even be considerably more fit than the general population. You brag that you’ve been doing the same workout for some amount of time and you feel great. But you’ve been starting to wonder why your biceps haven’t gone anywhere close to the Hulk’s even after all the tedious hours you spend at the gym. There’s only one reason for that: your body has adapted to your fitness program and there isn’t any reason for it to change anymore. The real reason why people go to the gym is so they can train their bodies into adapting into the form they want to achieve which can’t be achieved if you stay in a constant workout throughout your fitness journey. The usual mistake done by novice bodybuilders is how they work their bodies to their limit without a concrete plan thus ending beating up themselves.
Contrary to popular belief, when you’re supposed to do high reps per set, it could also be in the range of eight to twelve reps and maybe even starting from six reps. Training with high reps usually mean the goal is to gain muscles. Also called “structural hypertrophy” since the focus is on the muscles and putting it under tension hence the hypertrophy. You’re sure to get stronger but at the end of the day, the aim is to build bigger muscles.
Doing too much high reps and only focusing on this exercise won’t get you the body you’ve been aiming for. Sooner or the later your body will adapt to this kind of training and your progress will end in a standstill. In your fitness program, it is possible to do 15, 20 or more rep sets but only in rare occasions. If you want big guns, you have to be willing and ready to do high reps.
If you think you’re good with just high reps, think again. Since six reps and above is considered as high reps, then anything below can be considered low reps. Even one rep with near-maximal effort is part of low reps. Often seen as more useful for powerlifting and Olympic lifting, low reps need work if you want defined high-threshold motor units. Working on the nervous system, you switch your training from ten sets to those below six and your body is left in an unfamiliar stress paired with heavier weights. Moving would mean even more feeling of tightness and intensity that requires great focus. It is just as intense as high reps but since the focus is getting stronger, you’d look completely different from a person who’s more focused on high reps. Powerlifters and body builders differ in a way that the former can carry much heavier loads but the latter looks more fit for the job.
High reps got your big guns covered, and low reps is all about your strength, so it’s a no-brainer to think that merging the two would give you a body to die for. You may have to go through death-defying training to get the best of both worlds. It takes dedication in both high and low reps to maximize the effects of the two. As mentioned earlier, high reps strengthen the muscles and work on the connective tissue strength. It also helps relieve the effects of the low reps which focus more on the improvement of neuromuscular and CNS of your body. The effects of mastering both the high and low reps leave you with a more effective and efficient way which shows in the increase in weight you can handle when doing lifts. You can switch between high reps (eight to twelve reps per set) and low reps (four to eight reps per set) but you can vary the number of sets according to your goal. The biggest advantage of switching reps is how your body won’t adapt and will continue trying to better itself depending on your workout.
The perfect combination of the opposite reps isn’t as easily achieved as what you just imagine it. To add to the challenge is that when you go into the anatomy of how the workouts happen, they actually counter each other. When you do high reps, you become stronger through neural adaptation but the more you adapt the less muscle fibers get stimulated therefore your muscles can’t grow as much as you want them to. So, it’s really important to find common ground when making your fitness program.
Sticking with the old strength training program of having both low volume and sets (max of six reps with max of three sets) won’t make the cut nowadays. It would help you get stronger in a way but you won’t reach your maximum capacity with that. If you want better results, it would be best to follow a multiple-set program with higher reps (six to twelve reps) and sets (three to six sets). The hypertrophy gained from this program is a lot more effective because more fibers are strained and to top it all off, testosterone and growth hormone is released more. And all of these things help you to get bigger muscles for the hard trainer. The only con of doing this training is when you do it too much and your body gets so used to it and you just end up with flat results. It’s called the “general adaptation syndrome” and it means you getting stuck in a plateau which would be hard to leave.
If you’re searching for scientific methods that are proven and effective, one suggestion to building those muscles is by using a routine that follows a certain period that focuses on high volume and increased sets. It’s important to switch training by period so it ensures that your body won’t adapt too much. This will give your body enough time to recover and build. The variation on your sets and reps depends on your capabilities and your goal in the long run. An example of this is HST which has rep ranges that change per exercise. It has been described as doing two workouts in one session, one for building muscle and the other for gaining strength.