High Repetition Muscle Building Workouts

I often think bodybuilding is 1% common sense and 99% confusion and guesswork. We know what works to build muscle, but we often don’t have a clue what goes on in the molecular level, or if indeed, the practices we know are anywhere near optimum – which explains why after over 50 years of bodybuilding, tactics continue to change, and it seems everybody would like to discover a way to build just a little more muscle than would normally be possible. We’re one insatiable lot, that’s for sure.

One ongoing bodybuilding debate is that of high reps verses low reps. It’s true that both build muscle, but which is optimum?

In this article, I hope to shed some light on the subject, and throw in my 2 cents as to what I think is going on with both high reps and low reps, and why both can be useful to your muscle building efforts.

First let’s take a look at power lifters. They are huge guys, and whilst they have enormously powerful and hugely muscular physiques, because of the fat and proportions to which they are built, their bodies aren’t nearly as aesthetically pleasing as that as a common bodybuilder. But the fact that they have huge amounts of muscle cannot be denied; and it’s of no question that power lifters train in a very different way to bodybuilders, as they work with extreme weight for low repetitions.

The bodybuilder on the other hand, uses far less weight, but goes for much higher repetitions. Sometimes, ridiculously high repetitions. And look at the physiques the bodybuilder can achieve – muscular, and strong.

It’s a given that both methods work to build muscle, but why? And which should you choose?

I believe that it has to do with fast twitch muscle fibres and slow twitch, and what stimulates them. It’s widely speculated that for explosive ‘power’ movements, fast twitch fibres are used, so it would stand to reason then that once they are fatigued, it is the fast twitch fibres which grow. On the other hand, for movements less explosive such as bodybuilding lifts, higher reps are used and the slow twitch fibres – which it is believe make up the bulk of the muscle – and those are the ones which grow.

I would recommend mainly targeting slow twitch fibres as they seem to make up the bulk of the muscle fibres you need to exhaust, but don’t throw in some power training every month just to keep the fast twitch fibres in shape. I think this method will produce optimum results.

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