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Old 08-23-2011, 10:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
FitDay Member
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 576

Originally Posted by kristinbyrd04 View Post
Yes what you said was true... less reps, higher weights to gain mass; more reps, lower weights (that's not to be read as light as a feather - lower meaning you are tired by your 12th rep), more toned. However, the less reps usually means about 6, or even less if you are trying to max out. I believe the more reps is toning you because you are burning more calories in the process. Less reps is focused just on the muscle and how much it can possibly lift.
This is still the core of the myth. What I've been doing to build mass for the past two months is both low rep, heavy weight ramping (increasing load on each set while lowering reps), which activates the nervous system and helps with strength, and high rep, lower load sets to "pump" the muscle full of nutrients and wash out metabolic waste. Add to that proper post-workout nutrition and lots of rest and you will grow.

It's been said earlier but bears repeating:

.:1-5 reps really overloads the nervous system, improves mind-muscle connection, stimulates connective tissue and joint adaptation to heavy movement, and builds strength
.:6-10 reps pumps the muscle full of blood and nutrients, washes out metabolic waste, and actually helps reduce soreness by increasing circulation. Also stimulates growth hormone release to enhance mass. The purpose of this mass isn't raw strength but as padding to withstand repeated injury.
.:11< reps tends to generate more metabolic waste than it clears but trains the muscle to work under duress, improving muscular endurance. You also burn some calories as there is an aerobic aspect to this style but it's not that high regardless of how bad a "burn" you feel. That's just lactate buildup and fatigue. Because of the increased metabolic waste your body pulls subcutaneous water into the muscle to help flush it out. This leads to the "toned" effect.

What marketers like to call "toning" is really the same as mass-building, since this is commonly associated with the 8-12 rep range (mass-endurance range). Since in females the overall anabolic potential is less than in men, that toned look comes about from a combination of less fat, less subcutaneous water, and denser muscle growth, and muscle that remains slightly more tensed, ready to respond to the next rep at a moment's notice.

So there are rough rep ranges for specific purposes but any program will strategically use all three to achieve results. The physiological response to each range varies but it's much more complex than just "toning vs. bulking." Hope this clears things up.

My rules:
1) eat real food - more vegetables, moderate meat, moderate fruits, less grains, less sugar, less vegetable oils.
2) exercise - moderate intensity cardio, sprinting, heavy lifting, dedicated stretching and mobility.
3) live - relax, de-stress, meditate.

Disclaimer: I'm not professionally qualified to make any formal recommendations. I've just done my homework and I'm my own guinea pig. All of my data, unless otherwise cited, comes from a sample size of n=1 (me).
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