High repetition training is something I personally started using many years ago, even to this day so many people do not understand it's vast benefits. Even those who do use high repetition training for the purposes of building muscle mass often apply it incorrectly. By the end of this blog, you will understand how high repetition training can help you transform your physique, and more importantly how to do it correctly. Let's go!
The Benefits of High Repetition Training
I will use concise bullet points because there are so many benefits to cover.
High repetitions allow you to target the type 1 slow twitch muscle fibers which can account for over 50% of your total mass! As a result, your hypertrophic potential is exploited much more thoroughly, leading to greater gains. Many people notice their muscles blow up when they use high rep training, this is one of the reasons why. Until you start using high rep training you're leaving potential on the table.
The fascia can be extremely restrictive, literally suffocating the muscle's potential to expand in size. High repetition training causes the muscle to swell aggressively in the gym due to the blood volumization - over time this helps increase the elasticity of the fascia, allowing for further growth.
Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy helps increase the size of your muscle cells by stimulating "cell swelling." High repetition training is extremely effective at facilitating this process!
Done correctly, high rep training is brutally intense - this means you are able to take a muscle beyond its natural failure point, stimulate new levels of growth and burn fat quicker as well because of the intensive energy demands.
**It is worth noting that high rep training is also great for letting the joints recover, partially because of the increased blood flow and partly due to the fact you're using less weight.**
Applying High Repetition Training Correctly
Doing a 20 or 30 rep set until it "burns" is not high repetition training, at least not in all its glory! Many people do "pump" sets to finish a workout off with, that's fine. However, a high repetition workout is ferocious, brutal and should be intimidating! If the tempo of the workout doesn't align with those adjectives, you're not going hard enough. Here are some tips on how to utilize high repetition training for maximal impact:
Each set should be to complete failure, then beyond! Use rest-pause to go beyond your natural point of failure, with high repetition training this essential.
Keep your form tight, don't allow the intense pain to help you justify using s*** form - muscle tension is always important!
Selecting the right weight for the rep range can be difficult sometimes - it is better to go slightly too heavy and have to drop the weight, rather than find you've gone too light!
The respiratory system will be working overtime to recover as lactic acid begins to flood your bloodstream - this is normal. Don't be tempted to take extra rest time between sets, this defeats the purpose of this training style. Keep your rest periods to 60-90 seconds, maximum!
Repetition tempo is always important for inducing hypertrophy, with higher rep ranges I recommend a 1-2 second eccentric. The sheer volume of reps you're going to be doing will accumulate extreme levels of muscle tension, provided your form and intensity are not compromised.