The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

Itís no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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Thread: how many reps?

  1. #1
    Wannabebig Member
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    how many reps?

    Hello, just a quick question, when i`m doing shoulder excercises, as in miliatary presses, lateral raises, etc, where should my rep range be, 6-8, 8-12? I notice a lot of people have a varied opinion on this one, but what do you people think? I used to hear high reps for tone, and low for mass, which is what i`m after. Thankyou!

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  3. #2
    Senior Member icanrace's Avatar
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    I do no more than 8 reps (usually only 6) on most all my lifts. If I can do more than 6, I add weight. It has worked nice for me. Abs, calves, and certain leg things I do higher reps. This is just me though *shrugs shoulders*

  4. #3
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    Go heavier on the compound movements and lighter on the isolation exercises.Experiment with both you have all the time in the world.Learn your own body.

  5. #4
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    what are you goals?

    use the same rep routine as you do for other muscles
    my exprience - joined gym 10 years ago, 6 1/2 years hard weight training exprience.

  6. #5
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    My main goal is to gain some size, but i think my reps were always too high

  7. #6
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    Don`t use the same rep scheme for all bodyparts.They do not all respond in the same way.I`d go heavy on pressing moves and lighter on laterals.Pyramid up in weight.Don`t go too light but keep form good you should always be working hard with good formwith the heaviest weight possible for the reps your trying to get.

  8. #7
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    I fairly disagree with the different reps per body part. I believe, however, in different reps per exersize. I'm going to go into detail on the subject of what rep amounts to use for what purpose. What rep amount is best for you? This response should answer that question. This is going to be a fairly long post, so hang in there, but read it all! First lets start off with the scientific structure of the muscle.
    There are three types of skeletal muscle tissue fibers. They are the white fast twitch fibers, the red fast twitch fibers, and the red slow twitch fibers. These different fibers have differing cardiovascular "support systems". Microscopic capillaries extend throughout intramuscular areas surrounding all of these muscle tissue fibers. The white fast twitch muscle fibers have very few capillaries, and in the absence of this nutrient rich blood supply, they cannot function for very long periods, but are extremely strong. The red fast twitch muscle fibers have a greater number of capillaries, and can therefore outlast the white fast twitch fibers, but are not nearly as strong. And lastly, the red slow twitch muscle fibers have a tremendous number of capillaries allowing for long-term sustained activity, however, with very little strength.

    The white fast twitch muscle fibers, red fast twitch muscle fibers, and red slow twitch muscle fibers occur within each muscle in genetically predetermined proportions.

    Each type of muscle fiber is then divided into groups of fibers called motor units based on their nervous innervation. If a motor unit is predominantly made up of white fast twitch tissue fibers, that motor unit is called a white fast twitch motor unit. If a motor unit is predominantly made up of red fast twitch tissue fibers, it is called a red fast twitch motor unit. And, if a motor unit is predominantly made up of red slow twitch tissue fibers, it is called a red slow twitch motor unit.

    Generally speaking, white fast twitch motor units are responsible for speed and strength, and a person who has a predominance of these white fast twitch motor units would be best suited for strength events. The red fast twitch motor units are responsible for sustaining a load over prolonged periods, and a person with a predominance of these red fast twitch fiber motor units would be best suited for events requiring stamina such as boxing or sprinting. The red slow twitch motor unit is responsible for producing energy over long periods, and a person with a predominance of these red slow twitch motor units, would be best suited for endurance events.

    As a general rule, only the minimum number of motor units required to move a given weight, will contract in performing work. Pick up a very light object in your hand, bend your arm at the elbow, and feel the contracted bicep. The muscle will feel somewhat soft because only the red slow twitch motor units are contracting.

    The assistance of the remaining motor units is not required. If the resistance is slightly greater, the red slow twitch motor units will be assisted by the red fast twitch motor units. Once again, for example, pick up a heavier object and feel the contracted bicep. It will feel harder than it felt when lifting the lighter object because more motor units are working.

    If the resistance is greater yet, the white fast twitch motor units will assist in the work. This time, pick up a very heavy object, and not only will your bicep feel extremely hard, you will also feel the strain against the resistance. In this case, most if not all motor units in the working muscle are involved.

    The immediate involvement of varying numbers of motor units based upon the amount of weight moved is one form of motor unit "recruitment."

    Immediately providing extremely heavy resistance, will insure an earlier "recruitment" of the white fast twitch motor units, which we know to have the greatest potential for growth. This also tells us that performing light resistance exercise will be of little value in optimizing growth. There is, however still some growth stimulation of the red fast and red slow twitch motor units in lighter high rep training. However, they can experience only limited growth by comparison, due to their tissues' differing composition, which will be discussed in greater detail later.

    Another type of motor unit recruitment occurs as a result of depleting energy. For example, during contractions of a muscle group against light resistance, each repetition steadily depletes the working motor units of energy and other motor units are called upon to assist the fatigued motor units in the same order as before.

    First, the red fast twitch motor units assist the already working slow twitch motor units. Lastly then, as the red slow, and red fast twitch motor units are continuing to tire, the white fast twitch motor units are called upon. By the time the white fast twitch motor units start working, the entire muscle group is rapidly exhausting. It is also quite probable that by the time the white fast twitch motor units are called upon, lactic acid and free phosphate are accumulating, thus inhibiting further contraction. This type of recruitment minimizes the involvement and growth stimulation of the white fast twitch motor units, which are known to have the greatest potential for growth.

    To experience this type of motor unit recruitment, pick a relatively light weight and begin to perform repetitions. As the muscle becomes more and more fatigued, you will begin to notice a burning sensation, and a slight pump (to be discussed later). As the exercise becomes more and more difficult, especially when performing a movement involving a very large amount of muscle tissue such as the squat, your heart rate will become elevated and your breathing labored. As the movement is becoming more and more difficult with each repetition, there are more and more white fast twitch motor units coming into play, since the white fast twitch motor units are reserved until last when the work is more strenuous. When you finish the set, after performing as many as 25 repetitions, the white fast twitch motor units may only have performed optimally for 2 to 3 of those last reps. Hardly enough to stimulate optimum involvement.

    Yet another type of motor unit recruitment is based on the speed of contraction. A maximum contraction against a sub maximal resistance, will in theory, call on the red and white "fast twitch" motor units due to their faster contractile speeds. This can be accomplished through compensatory acceleration training, or by performing Olympic style weight lifting. This type of training has been practiced for years by strength trainers. However, it is used more frequently when training for specific events requiring explosive types of movements and without proper execution, can increase the risk of injury. Therefore, the frequency that this type of training is performed should be controlled.
    In conclusion, low rep exersizes recruit both red and white twitch fibers quicker. LOW REP EXERSIZES ARE OPTIMAL FOR GAINING SIZE AND STRENGTH, WHERE AS HIGH REP EXERSIZES ARE BETTER FOR STAMINA/DEFINTION.
    scott

  9. #8
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    Thankyou verymuch, Scott, i`m very grateful for your trouble, wow, i`ve never had such a well explained answer, i have to say! My workout last night involved reps in the 4-8 range, that was for shoulders and triceps, so i`ll stick to that for a while. I used to perform 8-14 reps before. Thanks again

  10. #9
    As I Am Paul Stagg's Avatar
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    I was going to read all of that, but he very helpfully put 'High reps are for stamina/definition' in caps so it would stand out.

    For most of us, the rep range doesn't matter all that much unless you are training for something very specific.

    The general guidelines pretty much apply to everyone, and pretty much all bodyparts are the same.

    If you want to get big and strong, lift somewhere between 4-12 reps most of the time.
    Last edited by Paul Stagg; 04-24-2003 at 07:15 AM.
    Squats work better than supplements.
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