There Are So Many Ways To Train With Weights: Which One Suits You?

The way you train will shape the way you look, feel and move. When determining which training style suits you, it comes down to what you want to achieve. Below is a simple breakdown of three (of many) different ways you can train in the gym using weights:

Option 1# High Reps, Low Weight/Intensity

This style of training involves performing high repetitions of each exercise. The repetition range will vary from 10 to 15 reps. The weight/intensity is dependent on the person, however at Crux, we use an RPE scale (rate of perceived exertion, or an “effort scale”). For this particular phase, we expect an RPE of 7 out of 10.

So, your perceived effort for the set of 15 will be performed at a 7 out of 10 effort. Your rest time between sets will be minimal, usually around 30 to 60 seconds long. We also program at a high frequency, meaning we train the same muscle groups multiple times per week for high exposure to stimulus and to develop good technique, quicker.

The goal for this phase is to learn how to move your body well so you can build on the foundations and then start increasing strength and muscle mass in the next phase.

Phase Summary:

Reps = 10 - 15

Sets = 2 - 4

Rest = 30 - 60 seconds

Intensity = RPE 7

Goal = to increase body awareness, build foundational strength and start building muscle mass.

Option #2 Lower Reps, Higher Weight/Intensity

During this phase, the reps decrease to 5 to 8. The RPE will remain around 7 to 8 however with a lower number of reps, it usually means that we’re able to lift heavier weights in comparison to the foundation phase. As we’re using an RPE scale, this still allows beginners and experienced lifters to work within their means.

The goal of this phase is NOT to max out, or even to feel a deep burn. It is to increase the amount of force your body can produce. Force = Mass x Acceleration so the goal is to have you moving as much weight (aka mass) as controlled as possible and expose your body to a great amount of stimulus to allow for adaptation to occur. NB. Acceleration comes in at a later stage.

In reference to SAIDs principle - Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands, your body will adapt to the demands placed upon it. So by lifting heavier, your body will get stronger.

More strength gains allows for more potential muscle growth later on as you’re able to increase the amount of volume you move each session.

Phase Summary:

Reps = 5 - 8

Sets = 4 - 6

Intensity = RPE 7 - 8

Goal = increase force and session volume, build a solid strength base and increase muscle mass.

Option #3 High Reps, Moderate to High Weight/Intensity

This is where we break your training into three parts.

  • Part A - increase strength through similar principles used in the strength phase (#2).

  • Part B - the emphasis is placed on building your accessory muscles to optimise your body to perform better as a whole.

  • Part C - conditioning for your cardiovascular fitness and strength endurance.

Historically, our clients have seen some huge changes in their body during this phase. It gives you the flexibility to continue to either “bulk” to gain more muscle or “shred” to lose some body fat. It’s an enjoyable time for most because if executed correctly from the beginning, the muscle growth achieved from previous phases will give you an aesthetically pleasing result.

By building the foundational strength and quality movement from the get go, it allows you to choose where you want to take your training and/or aesthetics in the future.

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