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Free Weights, Sets and Repetitions


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I've been using free weights a lot lately, and at first I was using heavier weights with less set and repetitions. My workouts were very short and I wasn't able to use proper form due to the heavier weights at times. Now I switched to lighter weights but I greatly increase the number of sets and repetitions I do. My workouts are a lot longer and I feel like I'm doing the right thing now but I just wanted to ask, should I stick with the lighter weights with more sets and repetitions or go heavy? I'm 6 feet, 14 years old and 134 pounds.

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Well I am entirely clueless about basketball. But you're young and tall and very active so I wouldn't worry about gaining fat, it would probably be really hard for you to do that. How many reps are you doing that you consider them high? Are you going close to failure? It should at least be somewhat hard....I think everyone should lift heavy and do 8 reps but that's just me, you might want to ask your coach or something.

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You get what you put in. Higher reps and lower weights is endurance training, lower reps and heavier weights is strength training. A noteworthy example is the tendency for people who do 5 reps of heavy weight to be able to lift a heavy amount, but can't for a very long amount of time. One other aspect worth mentioning is that muscle size is partially dependent on reps. In other words the muscle gets trained to hold more energy in it so it can move more often, and thus becomes larger. Strength still increases size, but so does plain old endurance.

 

I was put to start on a 3x8 program, where 3 sets of 8 reps is a moderate average of strength and endurance with an emphasis on strength. 5x5 is pretty much 'hardcore strength' and something like 3x15 is 'hardcore endurance'. Don't expect to get strong as fast doing more reps, but if you're talking about doing something like basketball as your sport, it's a good idea to do both.

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Sup, great to see someone who's 14 too And as awaken375 said, it all depends on whether you want strength or endurance, or whether you want a short workout or a long one.. I do a 4x8 program though, so I guess thats kinda moderate as well...

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Just because you play basketball and focus on that doesn't mean you can't build some crazy strength in the meantime! Chris Hickson's a guy who is only around 19 years old now, started strength training to help his game, and ended up being one of the best deadlifters for his age at any weight class - here he is pulling 800 lbs. with just a belt, amazing stuff!

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Supersets, Pyramids, Drop sets would all be good methods of training to get that toned look. Incorporate these with a split routine and i think you would be good to go! Also look into volume training routines (i.e. 5x5, 8x8, and GVT). These will build lean body mass and if you stay at a reasonable weight you won't overgrow or 'gain fat'.

 

All the best.

 

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  • 1 month later...

There is a big misconception when it comes to reps, sets and duration. Having went to school for exercise physiology, this was a topic that was the most controversial. The fact of the matter is 1 set to failure is all you need in order to improve muscular strength/endurance. The two are one in the same and go up simultaneously. There is no such thing as lifting for strength or endurance. Lemme be as specific as possible from my notes in front of me to avoid confusion because I know there will be 1000 post underneath this telling me I have no clue what I'm talking about.

 

Muscular Strength: Initial increase is due to CNS (central nervous system). Chronic response is the ability to move the same load at less energy cost/motor unit recruitment or ability to move a greater load than previously.

 

Anaerobic Muscular Endurance is proportional to strength with chronic adaptations resulting in the ability to move a previous load more times/longer.

 

Ex: 1 RM=100 lbs

If one can perform 50% of 1RM 10x

After 12 weeks of training one can now 1 RM 120lbs.

That same 50% is still moved 10x, but is now with 60%.

The previous 50lbs will now be able to be moved more than 10x hence the two increase proportionally.

 

Now getting on to the sets...ready....now as I said before 1 set to failure (momentary muscle fatigue) is all you need to get results in strength/size. Yes, you use type 2a/2b muscle fibers and do not need to do multiple sets to do so. Repturation range should be between 3 (anything under 3 reps is 90% neurological) and 12 (anything more your just wasting your time lol). Slower reps are always better then faster reps. Benefits of going slow are decreased risk of injury, increase actin and myosin interaction, better neurological adaptations, and improves form. Going faster more or less does the opposite of what I just said.

 

NOW....what if you do multiple sets to failure? Drop sets to failure? Everything in between? Multiple sets to failure will increase your strength more then just doing one set. The thing is that studies show the increase of your gains on average have only a 3% difference. Meaning if your new max is 100lbs with one set, your new max would be only 103lbs with multiple sets. Multiple sets increase your strength/endurance/size, but also increase your risk for injury, stress on the joints, synovial membrane and fluid loss, among other things. Injury also depends on form, genetics, etc.

 

Frequency should be at least 3 days a week. Full body workouts or split routine show no difference in gains. Personally I like to split it into upper and lower body days, starting with different major muscle groups every session to mix things up.

 

What I advise people is when you are making an exercise prescription program for yourself or others, do it depending on what your goals are. Do you just want to be fit? Orthopedic issues? Body Building etc. Hope everyone takes what I said into consideration and maybe try it for yourself. If you have anymore questions about the specifics of what a typical workout might look like feel free to ask. And just to be clear I don't mean to say to anyone what you are doing is wrong by any means what so ever. Everything works, just expressing what I was taught in school over the years.

 

Feel free to google Henneman's Size Principle and Dr. Robert Otto and Ralph Carpinelli. Pioneers in the exercise physiology world.

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That fine, but I would do a little research on the matter before you shut it out of your mind. I'm not stating an opinion or something that I've found works for me, it's something that is taught from an A.S. to Doctoral level at any school in the country that offers exercise physiology....Think about your reps.....3 sets of 8.....why 8? why not 6...5....12535353? And why 3 sets? why not 10 sets? 100? 2? If anything by not going to failure your setting your bodies limit before you've even started your lift. By going to failure you recruit all of the possible motor units in the required energy system. You've temporarily pushed your body to the limit, recruiting type 2a and 2b fibers. I'm not saying any workout is wrong, just not the most efficient way. If you have any more questions about the topic please feel free to ask I love discussing this.

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It is not known what level of intensity is required to achieve maximal increases in muscular size and strength. Muscular fatigue or volitional fatigue may not be prerequisite for recruitment of all motor units and that would assume that maximal recruitment of motor units is required for optimal increases in strength.

Volitional fatigue denotes a conscious, deliberate decision to terminate an exercise.

Muscular fatigue implies failure to complete the concentric phase of the repetition despite a maximal effort not terminated by volition.

 

 

Generally, training programs of 2 days/week have been shown to provide the same increases in muscular strength as compared to 3 days/week (Carroll et al., 1998).

However, some studies have shown that 3 days/week training is superior for strength development compared to 1 day/week and 2 days/week, but the effect size is often small (80% of the derived strength benefits can be obtained with 2 days/week compared to 3 days/week) (Braith et al., 1989). Studies done on some muscle groups(lumbar extensors, cervical extensors and rotators) show that training one, two, or three times per week are equally effective.

The benefits derived from participation in strength training appears to be maintained with a training frequency of 1 day/week. Thus, having practical implications for those individuals on minimal time schedules or athletes desiring to maintain strength during the in-season.

The more is better principal does not apply to many aspects of the strength training realm (sets, frequency). Benefits can be derived from strength training by exercising 2-3x/week. Additional training beyond this threshold range does not provide additional effects for development of muscular strength (Rozier & Schafer, 1981).

In addition, evidence provided by MacDougall et al. (1995) suggests that the rate of protein synthesis after resistance training peaks at approximately 24 hours and returns to baseline by 36 hours post training. Therefore, adequate rest (perhaps up to 48 hours) between training sessions may be necessary for optimal muscle growth (hypertrophy) to occur during prolonged training (greater than 6 weeks; after neurological adaptations).

However, the effect of performing resistance training on different groups of muscles each session (split training) compared to whole body training in which greater than 24 hours recovery between sessions is provided, has yet to be determined.

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