More Weight or More Rep’s to Build Muscle Mass?
There is a lot of controversy about what technique builds muscle mass the fastest, either more weight or more rep’s. Most trainers shy away from high rep’s (more than 10-15). So what is the correct answer? Well it depends. Low weight and high rep’s have its place depending on the individual.
Both methods have their value and benefits. Building muscle mass depends on the individuals physiology. First understand that to build muscle it requires overloading with resistance and breaking down the muscle fibers. No doubt about that. After breaking down muscle fibers, nutrients have to be supplied to the area for the rebuilding of the muscle cells.
If the muscle group you’re working on is not gaining and hard to develop it could be that the blood supply and therefore nutrients supplied are poor to this target group resulting in reduced growth for this area.
Capillaries supply blood and nutrients to the muscles. By employing low weight and high repetitions it will temporarily increase the blood vessel size and thereby deliver more nutrients to the muscle group aiding in the reconstruction and building of that muscle. If the circulation to any one area is poor then fewer nutrients get delivered.
So if you do say a hundred rep’s with a low weight your body will respond by increasing capillary action and begin setting the stage for future muscle growth with higher weight and less rep’s. This also sets the stage for increased nutrients, more recovery and more mass in the target area.
Try it Out
Choose a hard to pump up muscle, well use the bicep as an example. At the beginning of working out the bicep choose a light weight and do 100 rep’s. Do this each time you are working this part and begin to notice that the bicep begins to get pumped up quicker and gets bigger each time. This is due to an increased blood supply to the area.
After achieving this increased blood flow start to do moderate weight with high rep’s. This will begin to really start to build muscle mass going forward. This is a technique that power-lifter’s use to add on muscle mass.
Remember it’s all about breaking down the muscle fibers and building them back up with blood rich nutrients. The increased resistances will directly stimulate muscle growth and improve you’re circulation.
This method can work with any muscle group. It will also help if you perform this in the beginning of your workout while you are fresh and not yet fatigued, in this way you can get more rep’s in. Sometimes power-lifter’s also finish off a hard workout with lighter weight/more rep’s as kind of a back off set.
Now Go for the Heavy Stuff
After a while you’ll be surprised at how much weight you can lift after having trained the muscle and increased the flow of blood to your target muscle. You will continue to have better flow of blood to the muscle as well as the surrounding connective tissue helping with the cycle of breaking down, more capillary action, strengthening and healing to gain muscle mass.
Overall the low weight/high rep as well as the high weight/low rep workout both have their place in building and packing on muscle mass to get the most out of your workout. I am a big fan of both methods.
These techniques will set the stage for continued future growth and mass. Happy Workouts!
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