Weight training is exercise in which muscles generate force to overcome resistance, gravity or both. Weight-training programs can help you accomplish many goals, including improving your muscular strength and endurance. Strength is the ability to overcome the most amount of weight once. Endurance is the ability to overcome lower amounts of weight many times. For strength gains, sets of six to 10 repetitions are recommended. For endurance gains, sets of 10 to 12 repetitions are generally used. High-repetition training consists of repetitions between 20 and 100.
Muscles have fibers that are recruited to generate force to overcome resistance. The goal of each exercise is to achieve 100 percent of muscle fiber recruitment. Higher weights use lower repetitions, and lighter weights use higher repetitions to achieve muscle failure. With training, muscle fiber size increases as hypertrophy -- increased muscle mass -- occurs.
Weight selection for weight-training exercises is based on the maximum, or most amount of weight that can be lifted one time -- your one-rep max. Weights selected are a percentage of your one-rep max. For high-repetition training, choose weights that are approximately 50 percent of your one-rep max and perform between 20 and 30 repetitions. Some higher-repetition training calls for 30 to 100 repetitions. This should not be performed with every workout.
Benefits of High-Rep Training
High-repetition training improves the density of your capillaries, the blood vessels that supply your muscles with blood. The increased circulation provides an increased amount of nutrients to the working muscles. As repetitions increase, so does fat utilization, which is beneficial in losing body fat and improving muscle tone. High-repetition exercises performed every third to fifth workout adds variety to workouts and helps overcome training plateaus.
Types of High-Rep Training
High-repetition training is used to achieve gains in muscular endurance. Although lower weights are selected, the purpose is still to work until failure. A rest-pause set is one exercise technique. The workout consists of performing two sets of 15 repetitions using a weight that can only be lifted about 10 times. Perform the first 10 repetitions, pause and take five breaths, then continue and complete five more repetitions to total 15. Another technique is the 20-repetition partial training set that uses heavier weights. Using high weights, perform 20 repetitions, moving through half of the range of motion. Use the top range or stronger half of the range.
With high-repetition training, focus on breathing and correct form. Exercises should be performed slowly and in control.