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How Many Reps Should I Do While Strength Training to Lose Weight?

author image Sunny Griffis
Sunny Griffis, a certified performance technologist, is a fitness coach who has been a professional writer since 1998. Her work can be seen in online and print publications such as "Family Fun," "Cappers," "Rutherford Woman Magazine" and "Healthy Family Magazine." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in metaphysics from AIHT, and a CPT certification from NFPT.
How Many Reps Should I Do While Strength Training to Lose Weight?
Use high rep ranges to promote muscular endurance without adding mass to your frame. Photo Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Adjusting the rep range in a strength-training workout alters how the muscles are affected. Perform higher rep ranges, or 15 or more repetitions per set, to support muscular endurance without adding extra mass or weight to your body. Note that strength training satisfies only one part of the weight-loss formula, though. Incorporate regular cardio exercise and a calorie-conscious diet into your regimen for optimal weight-loss results. For safety and health concerns, consult your physician prior to embarking on any exercise or weight-loss program.

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High Rep Range

High rep ranges, or approximately 15 to 21 reps, support muscle endurance without causing mass muscle or weight gains, according to the National Federation of Professional Trainers' "Personal Fitness Trainer Manual." Therefore, stick to a higher rep range to receive the benefits of training without causing weight gain. Intensity trumps rep range in terms of its effect on weight loss, though. Focus on keeping the intensity high when strength training, which increases caloric expenditure and promotes fat loss. A 185-pound person lifting weights at a low intensity burns 133 calories per hour, yet training vigorously doubles the caloric expenditure, according to Harvard Medical School.

Circuit Training

Incorporate circuit training into your strength-training program for increased fat loss. Circuit training consists of performing a series of exercises, back-to-back, with little rest. Because of its intense, fast-paced layout, circuit training can burn 570 calories per hour, according to “Reader’s Digest.” Utilize a high rep range and compound exercises for maximum caloric burn and efficiency. Try a full-body circuit-training routine to kick start your weight loss. For instance, perform 15 to 20 reps of each of the following exercises with little to no rest in between: squat with overhead press, bench press, lunges, dumbbell back rows, bicycle crunches, squats, kettlebell swings, deadlifts, burpees and a 60-second plank. Repeat the circuit three times. Speak to a certified fitness trainer to learn proper form and techniques.

Keep Pulse Pumping

Try not to let your heart rate fall below 125 beats per minute in between sets, as this creates a cardio fat-burning effect while supporting lean muscle tissue development, recommends the National Federation of Professional Trainers. Should your heart rate fall below 125 beats per minute, elevate your heart rate by increasing the pace at which you are lifting, decreasing the rest period in between sets, or slightly increasing your weight load.

Important Weight-Loss Consideration

Because weight loss occurs only during a caloric deficit, consider the importance of calorie-controlled nutrition into your lifestyle, which remains a vital and fundamental component of weight loss. Regardless of the rep range used, weight loss will not transpire if you're consuming excess calories. Calculate your daily caloric requirements and create a caloric deficiency each day. Consume a diet consisting of lean meats, legumes, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and whole grains, recommends the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Speak to a nutrition professional for guidance if necessary.

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