Should You Train With Higher or Lower Reps?

What the science says and how to apply it to your training

Dylan Dacosta
In Fitness And In Health

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“Should I train with higher reps or lower reps to build muscle?”
“I’ve heard higher reps will help you tone your muscles more.”
“Isn’t it true that lower reps with heavier weight will make me bulky?”

These are all common things I’ve heard or been asked as a coach and even believed as a younger lifter.

If you hang around any local gym for long enough, you’re bound to hear these ideas said as if they were hard facts. It’s no wonder folks are confused about the topic of high vs. low reps.

It can be especially confusing because you’ll likely get a wide range of rep schemes from different programs and coaches. And if any coach or system is rigidly attached to one protocol being “the best,” it can add even more confusion.

So, the question remains:

Which is better? High reps or low reps?

As with any question, specifics matter. Mainly, which is better for what?

Most people tend to ask this question in regard to body composition and strength. The oversimplified answers are as follows.

For building muscle, neither is inherently superior within a large range of about 5–30 reps.

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Dylan Dacosta
In Fitness And In Health

I am a personal trainer and online coach from Toronto, Ontario. If you like my writing, check out my website! www.five-elements.ca