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What are the trade-offs of weight versus repetition?

I have just started out with lifting weights, now I know that I should be working all the muscles and I have a routine worked out for everything, but I can't figure out which is best should I be doing heavier weights and less reps or should I be doing less weight and more reps and how many sets is a good amount if doing heavier or lighter.


2 Answers 2


This depends on your goals. For hypertrophy, choose an intensity to perform about up 5-10 reps. Higher intensity (and less reps) targets strength, lower intensity (and more reps) targets muscular endurance.


I think that you should go high intensity for 5 reps and 5 sets with big muscle groups with free weights. Why would you need muscle endurance or high tolerance for Lactic acid in your everyday life? The problem with doing exercises with free weights and high intensity is that you could easily injury yourself. But if you start with low weights so you get the correct technique you will be fine. You just have to increase the weights every time. There is a website called stronglifts.com that I can recommend for his basic training program. It focus on high intensity. If you become a member he will send you an email everyday (with about the same message so I have unsubsribed now) His training routines includes only few exercies like, Deadlift, Benchpress, Squats, Rowing all with free weights. Here is a video of the routines.

There is a discussion here about the best exercises for life. I agree with this answer about strength:

  • Please be aware that StackExchange sites are not discussion boards but Q&A sites, you should read the faq. Your answer does not really answer the question that was asked here.
    – Baarn
    Dec 30, 2012 at 21:59
  • Thank you for your information about FAQ. I have now read the FAQ. The headline about: "What if I see bad things happening?" caught my interest. Dec 31, 2012 at 11:47
  • 1
    Some StackExchange users (including me) sometimes seem to be a bit rough to new users. If you have any problems while using the site, post your problems or concerns on Physical Fitness Meta or use the informal way and join our Physical Fitness Chat. I try to be straightforward and tell you what I dislike when you post something, instead of simply downvoting and not telling you (which is far easier and takes less time).
    – Baarn
    Dec 31, 2012 at 12:13

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