Strength Reps vs. Mass Reps
If you want to get bigger, what sort of routine must you use? How do you "tone" your muscles? In many cases, I do believe that there is much to be learned in the arena of exercising and how many reps or sets to do and how to build strength as opposed to big muscles. It used to be that everyone believed that you do fewer reps to make your muscles bigger and a great number of reps to tone your muscles. Oddly enough, this is exactly opposite from the reality. It is important to distinguish between muscle tone and muscle mass in order to understand how reps work for each. Rusty Moore gives a balloon analogy in his course Visual Impact. Like filling up a water balloon, getting that bodybuilder physique is not difficult at all to do. Getting dense, toned muscles would be like making the balloon rubber thicker which ultimately makes it denser and stronger. Doing a smaller number of reps with heavier weights is the optimal way to gain strength. The most vital part of the whole affair is that you cannot wear yourself out too much. Muscles must not feel extremely tired when your session is done. Always keep one rep in the tank. Making your muscles more compact and not flabby looking is what you get with this kind of work out. You only need somewhere between three to five repetitions to build up your strength. If you do between five and ten sets then you won't hit muscle failure.
If you want to get your muscles to be bigger, you have to do high rep training to failure. By exhausting your muscles, you force them to grow larger. At the same time, if you get bigger muscles, you will look slightly softer and not as streamlined. Muscle mass training should be done with about 12-15 reps. Keep in mind that you have to absolutely wear out your muscles in this exercise. So, not as many sets are needed even if you could do them.
How long a break between sets should be and how long you should take to finish your repetitions needs to be thought about too. Strength reps benefit from being more controlled, and even pause a bit after a rep, so that your nervous system can catch up with you and not get fried. You need to make those muscles really burn when training for bigger muscles, so you need to work them to fatigue and complete your reps quickly.
The same goes for resting time between sets. If you want stronger, more toned muscles then the rests can take a little longer, say two to three minutes and your muscles won't get over tired. For muscle mass building, 45 seconds to 1 ½ minutes is probably more than enough time since you're trying to create cumulative fatigue. A combination of working out for muscle strength and size is the best way to train. Tone your muscles with strength reps and increase muscle size with mass reps. What's more, varying body parts can have unique rep schemes when you exercise them. For example, I want my chest to be tighter, not bulkier, so I'm performing 3 rep sets with heavy weights, ensuring that I don't fail. At the same time, if I want big arms, I'll do 12 rep sets until I experience muscle failure, not putting as much weight on them.
For years, many have confused strength reps and muscle mass reps. Low reps of heavy weights can really help you tone your muscles, as long as you do not do reps until failure. If you want bigger, but less toned muscles, then workout with higher reps and go for muscle failure.
Dave provides no-nonsense "best of the best" diet and exercise tips to lose fat and build lean, defined muscle without spending hours in the gym. Read more about a strength reps and download a FREE copy of Dave's Fitness in a Flash report to help get a lean, athletic look in no time. http://www.notyouraveragefitnesstips.com
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