More weight or more reps for strength and hypertrophy? Can you build muscle with low weights?

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++++++_ ANSWER ++++++_

Almost anything can be a useful tool, the question you have to be able to answer is: Is this appropriate now?

For strength outcomes, lower rep training will make up a majority of your training, since you can’t really get stronger without lifting heavy weights. However, strategically changing volume, in terms of reps/sets/frequency will allow you to make more efficient progress with your training.

For hypertrophy outcomes, the research shows that using weights in the 30-85% of your 1 rep max can lead to similar hypertrophic outcomes. This means once you match total volume/tonnage and effort levels, using 3-35 reps schemes can be beneficial for building muscle.

The closer you get to muscular failure, the better the outcomes are for putting on muscle. But as you reach muscular failure the stress on the body increases exponentially. Training to failure, whilst very beneficial is very taxing on the body and is not sustainable in the long term.

A more strategic approach is to spend most of your training in the 7-9 RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) level, roughly meaning you train with 1-2 reps left in the tank. Venturing into training to failure very sparingly and strategically – possibly before a deload week.

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