When it comes to lifting, doing low weight vs. high weight reps is a strictly personal choice, and there is no one-size-fits all answer.
However, there are a few seasonal rules and practices that bodybuilders or those who are trying to make gains often like to follow. Here are some of the main ones you should consider.
The Winter Bulk-Up
Since winter is here, the overall trend and focus in weightlifting circles is bulking up. To establish a bulk, one has to eat more carbs, lots of protein, and also work with heavier weights, which invariably means lower reps. The standard set-to-rep ratio that is widely accepted in lifting circles is 4 sets of 12 reps.
This is largely a rule-of-thumb when you are working out to maintain tone, and also when lifting heavier weight. If you can comfortably complete 4 sets of 12 reps, you might want to consider adding weight if your goal is adding bulk. Again, choosing low weights vs. high weights when it comes to lifting is strictly personal and depends on your specific goals, but generally speaking, the higher the weight, the bigger and stronger you will become.
Those who take weightlifting seriously move towards a “shred” mentality after the winter months. This starts in April, and it continues through the summer. The idea of bulking up in the winter is to provide adequate water-retention, so as to allow your muscles to stay grossly hydrated over the winter “growing season.”
Also Read: Top 10 Foods For Gaining Lean Muscle Mass
Through the winter, the transition to much heavier weights in order to grow your muscles usually begins around November. The muscle groups that are trained over the winter bulk season are generally large groups, like the chest, back and legs.
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Although triceps, biceps and shoulders are not “large” muscle groups, they should be worked, just as chest, back and legs are, at higher weights, and thus lower reps, during the winter bulk. You must also allow more time for workouts during the bulk-up, because you will require greater rest time between sets. When you lift heavier weights, you are basically causing them to tear and grow new tissue.
Why Rest Is Necessary
Proper rest in between each muscle group worked is absolutely imperative. The muscles need time to heal all of those tears, and to get ready for the next weight-lifting session. That said, a working rotation of lifting for your chest and triceps, followed by back and biceps the next day, then shoulders, and finally the big leg day, will help you reach your weight lifting goals and properly develop your body in a sustained and orderly manner. The last thing anyone wants is well-developed pec muscles, with no development of shoulders, biceps or triceps; it creates an awkward look.
The Best Investment Ever
There is no better investment than that which you will make in your body, as the more time you put into it, the greater your returns will be.
Stronger muscles give your body more ability to carry you around all day, to help you get up and down, and to do all that you want to do, with ease and less struggle. Being fit might be one of the most elusive, and yet fulfilling goals we will ever chase in our lives.
Low weight vs. high weight reps depends on the season and what you are trying to achieve. The high weight will give you a point-of-reference when you transition to higher reps, with lower weight, during the spring and summer shredding.
Whether you’re a bodybuilder or an average Joe, getting fit, gaining muscle, and keeping your body strong and lean is the best thing you will ever do for yourself. Make a goal and stick to it, and continue challenging yourself, especially during the winter months.