LOW vs HIGH Load Resistance Training
Can you gain muscle with both training styles?
So everyone knows there are different ways to gain muscle. Some people think doing 100 reps of an exercise is the best and some think that doing 8-10 reps is the best. Well, what if I said everyone is right? The difference is that it’s just a different type of training.
The purpose of this study was to compare the low and high load resistance training. The study was accepted into the journal of strength and conditioning research where it was later published.
This study used people between the ages of 18-35, they did not have any disorders and were free of any illegal steroids or legal prohormones that are known to increase muscle size. They were placed into 2 separate groups.
One group was a LOW load group which was supposed to do 25-35 reps for each set in each exercise. The other group was a HIGH load group and a normal rep routine. This means 8-12 reps per set per exercise.
During each session, both groups had to perform 3 sets of 7 different exercises that represented all the major muscle groups. The training was done 3 times per week on random days for a total of 8 weeks.
Flat barbell press, barbell military press, wide grip lat pulldown, seated cable row, barbell back squat, machine leg press, and machine leg extension.
Overview of all relevant study results. Only the changes in squat strength and strength endurance as measure by 50% bench presses were statistically significant, there was a trend for greater increases in 1RM BP (Schoenfeld. 2015)
The data shows both resistance training that increases in biceps and triceps size. Improvements in back squats were significantly greater for HIGH load compared to LOW load and there was a trend for greater increases in the bench press with HIGH load.
These are just some of the results that are given in the study. You can see that it is beneficial to do both high and low resistance training.
Overall their findings indicate that both HIGH load and LOW load training to failure can have significant increases in muscle hypertrophy among well-trained young men; however, HIGH load training is superior for maximizing strength adaptations and while that is hardly news, the study has particular significance in view of the ongoing debate about “go heave or go home” as it proves a significant muscle gain in muscle can be achieved with both “going heavy” or “ going light” as long as you don’t go home, but train to failure.
What remains to be seen though is whether the high rep, low load training had a bonus effect. After all, it can be expected that all of the subjects trained in a 25-35-rep range before they participated in the study. If that’s the case then it wouldn’t mean that high rep training was useless.
My conclusion would be that you can train either type but the HIGH load training will be most successful for the fastest muscle growth. this mainly happens because you are pushing your body to the limit with the high weight that your muscles will have to move. Low load and lots of reps will give you slow muscle growth that will help you increase your endurance. There are advantages to both types of training if you want to know for yourself try switching up your training styles.