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I'm going to gym and i want to improve muscular endurance . My trainer (actually he's not a professional trainer, and i'm not trusting him) told me you have to do high reps with low weights .

For example, i'm doing Bench Press 3 set 15 reps . Because of 15 reps, i working with low weights. For example, i can do 10 reps with 35 KGS , but i can't do 15 reps with 35 KGS . So, i'm working with 20 KGS (yes, there are big difference) so i can do 15 reps.

I'm not sure 15 reps is good, or too much. I read a few articles about increasing endurance, all of them saying "8-10 reps", or i misunderstood them. What do you think about my training system ? I'm working with this, for a few weeks. But i want to see my muscles' improvement, i mean my biceps are still small (for example) . I want grow them.

In shortly, I'm doing 15 reps with low weights (but i'm always trying to increase weight). I want to increase muscular endurance and gain more muscle. Should i decrease reps number and increase weight?

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P.S. I'm taking L-Carnitine before cardio, and then doing about 45 minutes cardio. After cardio, i'm starting weight training. After all workouts, taking protein powder. Protein powder and L-carnitine working very good . I lose a lots of belly fat and gain muscle. –  Eray Nov 21 '12 at 1:32
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1 Answer

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Your trainer is correct. When training for muscular endurance you want to be in the 12-20 rep range, so 15 is a perfectly reasonable rep count. In contrast, 1-3 reps trains for strength, 3-5 trains better for power, and 6-10 trains better for mass. See below image for a reference chart on where you should focus your reps / weight depending on your desired result (endurance, strength, power, mass, etc.).

Knowing your ORM (one-rep max) is important because it allows you to set appropriate goals for different rep ranges. Since we don't know your ORM, we can only guess based off your doing 10 reps of 35kg comfortably; using the chart below, the 10 rep range should be approximately 70% ORM, so that puts you at a 35/0.7 = 50kg ORM. Using 50kg ORM, we can determine that an appropriate weight for endurance at your current level would be approximately 40-60% ORM, which in your case will be 20-30kg.

rep range chart

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Also, while I didn't explicitly say so in my answer, you should consider increasing weights and dropping reps if you want to see notable increases in muscle mass; but that depends on what you prioritize more (mass vs endurance). –  Moses Nov 21 '12 at 16:32
    
thank you for your great answer. Can you tell me what is difference between power and strength ? And i couldn't see endurance on chart ? Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy's mean is endurance ? And as 3th question, (i'm asking this for be safe) 50 KG ORM for Bench Press's mean is i can push maximum (about) 50 KG for 1 repeat. Is this right? –  Eray Nov 21 '12 at 18:06
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@Eray 1) Strength is the amount of force you can apply, power is the ability to use strength quickly (quick, deliberate, applied strength). 2) Muscular Endurance (M.E.) is trained by building Type 1 muscle fibers (slow-twitch). Slow-twitch muscles have dense capillarity and high lactate generation, thus those best reflect M.E. in the chart. 3) ORM is the maximum weight you can lift once and only once; and it must include both the concentric and eccentric portion of the lift (i.e. the full movement). E.g. 50kg ORM bench means you can lower the barbell to chest and push it up once, but no more. –  Moses Nov 21 '12 at 20:36
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@Eray Not necessarily. The sweet spot here depends entirely on your exercise; but for most weighted lifts 15 is a good round number, as it gives you a decent balance between muscle mass and endurance. –  Moses Nov 21 '12 at 20:49
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@Eray not a problem. Just remember, even though the effects appear to scale up after 20, make sure to note the rep counts (Silliness, Madness, Death) were chosen for a reason. Going over 20 on most lifts is just plain silly, excepting the few exercises like body weight push ups / squats which often require a much higher rep count than weighted exercises. –  Moses Nov 21 '12 at 21:03
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