This is a common fitness question; so I thought I’d answer it today.
As usual, there is no definitive answer; it really depends on your goals.
Generally, lower reps are better for building strength and muscle, higher reps are better for building muscular endurance.
It’s a good idea to incorporate both into your training, which is why you’ll see workouts/exercises with varying rep ranges in our workouts for example.
A common misconception I’d like to address is that higher reps at lighter weights are better for ‘weight loss/toning’. In reality, a muscle can only get larger or smaller – you can’t ‘tone’.
Proper nutrition is what dictates weight loss, as opposed to reps/weights.
When your primary goal is weight loss, spending more of your training time doing fewer reps with more weight is actually the superior approach.
You’ll build more muscle, and as the fat comes off, you’ll reveal an athletic-looking, lean physique. This is what people often refer to as ‘toned’.
Losing weight by restrictive eating and lots of high rep, low weight workouts and cardio won’t help you achieve this look. What is more likely is that you will lose both fat and muscle which isn’t optimal. Another great thing about lifting heavy weights for fat loss is that by increasing your lean muscle mass you will also increase your basal metabolic rate ; the rate in which you burn calories at rest.
If you’ve got any questions about the above and/or have a topic you’d like me to cover, let me know in the comments below!
And, if you want to learn a little more about weight loss, here’s Mike‘s latest podcast on the topic: