Most bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts trying to gain weight quickly are always told that to gain muscle mass they must stick to heavy weights for low repetitions.
This weight training myth is due to many believing that “low rep heavy weights” are for “size” and “high reps light weights” are for “endurance.”
Well, nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, if gaining muscle weight is challenging for you, heavy sets with low reps could be a big mistake.
Why do I say this?
Well, the European Journal of Applied Physiology published some research on how different types of genes in the body respond to different training routines, based on sets, weight, and repetitions.
What they discovered was significant.
First of all, there are basically two different types of genetic makeup for each individual:
1) ACE II
2) ACE DD
In one of the studies conducted, the scientists took 99 weight trainers and put them through two types of training routines:
o A training program consisted of several sets for high reps and a lighter weight (reps were 12-15 per set).
o The other training routine consisted of multiple sets for low reps with higher weight (reps were 8-12 per set).
What they found was that the weight trainers who had the most difficulty gaining weight and muscle predominantly had ACE II genes.
These people responded very well to the higher reps for the lighter weight program.
However, by sticking to the lower reps for a higher weight routine, they made no progress at all in terms of building muscle mass.
Sure, they may have gotten stronger, but we’re focusing on gaining weight and muscle size, not strength.
(No, size and strength don’t go hand in hand, as many would have you believe. Which is a big reason why most natural bodybuilders / fitness enthusiasts never really achieve their goals. They get stronger, but no bigger. Should I marry you ??)
One of the reasons higher rep training is so much better for those who are predominantly ACE II is because they have higher tissue oxygenation, which can increase contraction of the heart and skeletal tissue.
More reasons higher reps are better than lower reps for heavy weights for quick weight gain:
o The high volume of blood that passes through your veins and arteries while exercising with high repetitions will carry with it important muscle-building nutrients to fuel your training muscles.
o High rep training improves capillary density (the thickness of the capillaries within the muscle).
o High repetition training increases the diameter (size) of the blood vessels within the muscle.
o High repetition training stimulates the formation of new blood vessels.
….. all of which are responsible for making your muscles bigger in size and mass.
(Hey, isn’t that what you’re looking for in the first place ????)
Leave the heavy weights for low reps to weightlifters.