Should you do high reps or low reps for biceps

Should you do high reps or low reps for biceps
Should you do high reps or low reps for biceps


Getting stronger is the primary goal of most gym goers, if you were to ask 10 people at any random gym why they go to the gym they would probably tell you that they’re there to get stronger and to look better.

But what’s the best way to achieve this goal? Is it better to do longer sets with lower weight or is it better to do short sets with high weight? Both of these questions and more are going to be the focus of this article so keep reading if you want to learn more about muscle growth!

Low reps with heavy weight

This is the traditional method and the one most people think about when they hear the world “bodybuilder”. It’s pretty simple just try to lift as much weight as you can (around 90-95% of their one-rep max) and keep your repetitions low (as low as 1-5).

Remember we’re talking one rep max, so depending on your fitness level it might be a bit lower than you expect and see in most experienced lifters but it depends on your own strength level.

What’s the idea behind this, why is this the “traditional” way? Well, the theory says that focusing on very difficult exercises stresses your muscles to the maximum, it activates “fast twitch” muscle fibers that are responsible for doing these super hard lifting motions, this promotes hypertrophy and is what essentially makes muscles growth.

High reps with moderate weight

The alternative method, and probably one that is indirectly employed by lots of people all over the world doing physical labor, sports and similar. This method is the opposite of the previous example, here the idea is to lift moderate weight (55-60% of your one-rep max) and pair it with way more reps (15 and more!).

This affects your body differently than the higher weights do. It activates and promotes growth in type 1 “slow twitch” muscle fibers. These are weaker but much more durable muscle fibers, they are responsible for more endurance type of work.

There are many advantages of this type of workouts, they are longer and will get your heart rate up and burn more calories which is useful for some people. They are much more in line with what most people do day to day so the workouts can be much more functional and applicable to real life and so on.

Alright, so which one is better for me

That depends on what you’re training for and on your general fitness level. In general lifting heavy weights with low reps will increase your muscle mass, on the other hand lifting moderate weights but doing high reps will increase muscle endurance.

Which one is better depends on what you want to achieve when you go to the gym. If you want to be stronger, and to have a better physique then doing low reps will get you there faster.

On the other hand, if you work out focusing on higher reps with less weight you will also get stronger and look better but it will take a bit more time and eventually you will need to increase weight if you want to progress further, some people prefer it this way.

Remember, for beginners it doesn’t really matter that much which one you choose, thanks to “noob gains” you will see rapid gains at first when starting out in the gym. It’s normal for most guys to double their strength in less than a year, but eventually you will hit a plateau.

Switching from one method to the other is a great way to round out your physique, and push past your limits. Plus, high reps are perfect for injury prevention, resting and increasing general performance in sports and the like.

Do not make the mistake of just training with low reps, in the long term you will see lower gains and more injuries. This is because in general tendon strength increases much slower than muscle strength especially when we’re talking about type 2 muscle fibers, those can see gains really fast but your tendons might not be up to the task. By training with high reps, you can both increase strength for type 1, 2 and general tendon strength.

Common mistakes to avoid when going to the gym

We talked a lot about high reps and low reps but that’s not the only important thing to keep in mind when going to the gym. There a lot of common mistakes people do every day that prevent them from achieving their goals, let’s take a look at some of the most common and how to deal with them:

Motivation will get you into the gym but discipline will keep you there

Being highly motivated is almost a requirement for going to the gym, but eventually that motivation will run out. When this happens the only thing that will keep you going to the gym is going to be discipline and willpower.

But willpower is a limited resource, and modern life requires a lot of it. Whether it’s our job or something else it can take a lot just to get through the day. The only way to keep going back to the gym consistently is by building our discipline.

It’s better to achieve a lot of small things

Perfectionism is terrible for a lot of things, same goes for fitness. Don’t think you can go from couch potato to Mr. Olympia in a year, that’s not how it works. Set reasonable goals that you know you can accomplish in a month or less. This will keep your brain engaged and will feel rewarding every time you reach those goals.

Take “deload” weeks

It can be exhausting for your body and mind to constantly increase the weight you train with, and it can also lead to injuries. The best way to deal with these problems is to take eventual “deload weeks”. This is a week where you will not increase your weight, you will instead change things up to avoid overtraining and to let your entire body catch up with your newfound strength.

It’s why mixing low reps and high rep training is so effective. Deload weeks can be you switching from low reps to high reps or they can also be switching entire exercise programs. You could also just do bodyweight training for some time for example, the possibilities are endless!

Consider joining a fitness group

While working out alone is fine, some people find it much easier to keep moving towards their goals when they have a group that keeps them accountable and motivated.

If you’re struggling to achieve what you want in the gym by yourself, why not join a group to workout with? There are many proven benefits of designating some of your gym time to a group activity.

It helps in many different ways, at the simplest level it let’s you stop worrying what to do in the gym every day, but it’s usually much cheaper than private instructors.

It’s also great thanks to the upbeat music and social aspect, we all want to keep up with others and impress those around us, by joining a group that aligns with your fitness goals you can motivate yourself to get to new levels. Most of the time when I’m in a group I always end up giving more effort to every workout.


We talked about a lot of things on this article, but if we wanted to let our readers leave with something specific it’s got to be the fact that there are multiple ways to achieve something. Whether It’s by doing low rep or high rep training, group fitness or solo, the fundamentals are the same. Consistency is key, building discipline is extremely important if you want to go to the gym more than a couple of months.

There’s a reason why so many people just don’t achieve what they set out to do when they first sign up to the gym, and it’s not for lack of trying.

For a lot of us the biggest obstacle to getting fit, is ourselves. Don’t waste too much time by second guessing every workout, try out different ideas, start with low reps and then go for high reps, change routines/machines.

One thing I always encourage people to do is to do entire months where you do only bodyweight exercises, de-load weeks, or just join a group to change things up!

Most people think working out or playing sports is a great physical challenge, but it’s not only that it’s also a mental one. Only those who can master themselves and build discipline and grit can really improve their bodies!



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