“4-5 Reps” Spells “Go HEAVY!”
Written by TJ O’Brien
When I joined the 7am Muscle class the other morning, I saw a lot of empty barbells and light dumbbells. I then very politely asked them why they weren’t going heavy on their lower body lifts. JK, I teased them and said I would show them how it’s done…
For context, the workout was…
Three sets of:
Front-Racked Barbell Split Squats x 4-5 reps each @ 4211
Rest 60 seconds
Rear-Foot Elevated Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift x 4-5 reps each @ 6011
Rest 60 seconds
Someone chimed in, “But I don’t see ‘go heavy’ written anywhere on the board!”
So let’s talk about the rep ranges prescribed and what that means for the weight you select to lift…
Four to five reps is on the lower end of the spectrum. Our class usually operates in the mid-rep range, 6-12, and sometimes we break into bigger sets with lighter weights of reps in the 12-30 range.
Inverse Relationship Between Number of Reps and Weight
Weight used and repetitions prescribed have an INVERSE relationship. The lower the reps, the higher the weight we should be using.
Why give a rep range?
And we should also mention rep RANGES. We prescribed “4-5 reps”. Well, what is it, 4 or 5? Why give a range of one rep?
A rep range allows you to find the heaviest possible weight you can move. The implication is that you’ll try for 5 reps, but if you try your absolute damndest and you can only get 4, then F’ING AWESOME!
The Challenge Leads to the Benefit
Overall, the message is that if you don’t make it challenging, you don’t get the benefit. A LOT of workouts are hard on their own. Like, if you just complete “Fran” you’re gonna have pushed pretty hard. But something like this example part A requires you to really focus and reflect on both the muscles you’re working and the weight of the load you’re using. You can’t “just do it,” you have to do it well.
So here’s to doing it and doing it well.