Which Is More Important to Build Strength, High Weight or High Reps?

Which Is More Important to Build Strength, High Weight or High Reps?

It’s a gym argument that’s as old as gyms themselves. Which is the superior fitness training routine: high weight or high reps? Should you perform sets that consist of a relative few reps of high weight, or a greater amount of reps with a smaller amount of weight?

There’s been surprisingly little scientific study of this nature, which is part of the reason why the argument has raged on for so long! Many people end up picking a side in this debate based solely on the gym that they happen to go to, or the fitness guru that they happen to trust.

This article will examine the scientific studies that are available and try to get a better sense of which resistance training method is best for building muscle strength.



    The Anecdotal Evidence

    There is some non-scientific (yet reliably repeatable) anecdotal evidence to be found in the results of another great gym debate: bodybuilding versus powerlifting or Olympic lifting.

    In general, people undergo bodybuilding programs to focus on aesthetics rather than raw strength. They’re looking to plump up the volume of the muscle cells as much as possible to create the most admirable physique possible. Though Olympic lifters also tend to have fairly impressive physiques, they are generally more wiry and have less overall muscle bulk than top-class bodybuilders. However, they’re also usually stronger and able to lift more raw weight.


    Powerlifters also similarly focus on strength but tend to have larger physiques with more body fat. Both powerlift and Olympic lift training tend to focus on more repetitions at lower weight, while competitive bodybuilding stresses fewer reps that are generally done at the highest weight the muscles can handle.

    So at first glance, it would appear that Olympic lifting or powerlifting would clearly be better if you’re concerned only with building strength. In general, Olympic lift training is more limited in scope and involves much more complicated motions, however. And while powerlifting training engages all the major muscle groups, the squat and deadlift may also not be possible with many types of injuries. It’s very difficult to adapt these motions if you can’t perform them due to an injury, and they also require a lot of practice to perform correctly even if you’re fully healthy. So these circumstances may take that off the table as an option.

    But can the general concept of lower weight at more reps be carried over to other, more basic types of resistance exercises?


    The Schoenfeld Studies

    The best direct studies of this idea to date come to us from research teams led by Dr. Brad Schoenfeld and were published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in 2014 and 2015.

    The first study assigned a group of 17 young men to one of two groups performing a biceps curl: three sets of 10 reps, or seven sets of three reps. After eight weeks of training, there was no significant difference in the muscle size gains of the two groups. The group that performed seven sets saw significant gains in the amount of weight that they could bench press and squat, however.

    The second study helped to confirm these results. This time out, 18 young men who were already regular weightlifters performed either 25 to 35 reps of low-load exercise or 8 to 12 reps of high-load exercise. The seven exercises included in the study employed all of the major muscle groups. After eight weeks, there was once again no significant difference in size, but this time, the high load group saw the greater increases in ability to squat and bench press for one rep. The low load group saw by far the greatest increases in muscular endurance when performing squats and bench presses to failure, however.



      The Fink Study

      An even more recent study muddies the waters further. In this one, 21 non-weight-trained participants were similarly broken up between high load, low load and mixed load groups. They performed preacher curls with the left arm only, keeping the right arm dormant as a control. After eight weeks, there was little difference in muscle size, but the high load group saw significant improvements in strength over the other groups.

      Training To Failure

      The body of work thus far seems to indicate that high load work is actually superior for building muscular strength, but low load work may be superior for muscular endurance. With only a handful of studies of consequence at present, the scientific waters are definitely still muddied on this issue.

      But one thing is consistent within all of these studies: training to failure is absolutely key for both size and strength gains. Whatever exercise program you choose to build (or rebuild) your muscles, it’s important that your reps leave you unable to perform any further work without rest.

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      Last Updated on June 19, 2020

      25 Best Free Workout Apps That Make Your Home Workouts Easiler

      25 Best Free Workout Apps That Make Your Home Workouts Easiler

      Are you feeling the effects of cabin fever during the lockdown?

      Despite having the freedom to be at home, do you feel cooked up in social isolation? Perhaps less mobile from being able to visit the local gym?

      The fitness industry has made big adjustments under these unfortunate circumstances.

      Nevertheless, its impact has really boosted ideas for home fitness and classes. The trends and standards for these services have certainly increased. Some people say they’ll never go back to their routine.

      While individuals commit to becoming more tech-savvy, they also feel they’ll never commit to that long commute to the gym again.

      The outbreak has indeed initiated gym-goers to switch routines, but many individuals have realized why others have opted for these services prior to the pandemic. People are saving time and money, avoiding paying for additional costs such as gym fees, transport fees, expensive snacks, etc.

      After looking into many of these exciting trends in the market,[1] we’ve compiled the ultimate list of home workout apps to keep you motivated.

      After nominating many winners, we’ve selected a diverse range of fitness trends from many categories to help you choose what’s right for you.

      Let’s take a look at our 25 best free work out apps and websites.

      1. Peloton

      Category: Spinning

        Everything about Peloton is impressive. The quality of the bike, the experience of the spin instructors, the on-screen display, and the list goes on.

        With everything running so seamless, it feels no different than your favorite studio class. After moments of tuning in, that’s exactly where you feel you are.

        These live classes will really bring the energy of a gym directly to your living room. The screen display is very wide, allowing you to observe your teacher and other class participants very closely.

        If you’re competitive by nature, this will certainly keep you motivated and working hard to climb the leaderboard till the very end!

        • Classes take place at all times of the day.
        • Easy to filter workouts by length, difficulty, and type.
        • Amazing energy, music, and instructors are loud.
        • Download the app for Android or iOS.

        2. Nike Training Club

        Category: General Workout

          Nike Training Club is probably one of the most famous best free workout apps. It is an enhanced fitness app that will make you move, sweat, and thrive.

          This platform offers a free premium service. Some of the features are very flexible. The classes are well-choreographed and filmed from an extended library, offering low to high-intensity workouts.

          Workouts include heavy and light fitness equipment. Options are also available for HIIT and bodyweight classes for people who don’t have this at home.

          Nike offers classes ranging from 15-45 minutes long, making sure you have no excuses for missing your session. Whether you aim to train specific body parts or target certain fitness objectives, the app will compile this information and make recommendations to get you started.

          • Modern, easy to follow, and well-directed.
          • 4-6 week programs included, offering expert advice in nutrition.
          • Download the app for free for Android or iOS.

          3. Yoga With Adrienne

          Category: Yoga

            The Texas native has a very well established online following. Hosting a YouTube channel that boasts of over 6 million followers, Adrienne has published a virtual library of over 500 videos for people to learn the basics of Yoga, advancing to the later stages.

            Whether you’re a newcomer to Yoga or been on a long hiatus, Adrienne is very positive, diligent, and easy to follow when getting back on track. Check out one of her videos from her online library.

            • YouTube Channel is easy to navigate when approaching for the first time.
            • Classes are free and suitable for all levels.
            • Check out her videos on her YouTube channel.

            4. Sworkit

            Category: General Workout

              Founded in 2012, Sworkit has grown strong to become one of the most popular workout apps on iTunes and Google Play.


              If you have 5-10 minutes to exercise, Sworkit can make it happen. Input your goals (cardio, strength, flexibility, etc.) and the time you have, then Sworkit will generate a workout in seconds. It’s almost like the fast food of fitness.

              Extended features include classes, monthly challenges to keep you motivated, and a collection of pre-made workouts from your favorite instructor. The platform also allows you to build workouts for yoga, pilates, stretching, and mobility.

              • Very time-efficient for people operating a busy schedule
              • Download the app for free for Android or iOS.

              5. Map My Fitness By Under Armour

              Category: General Workout

                Under Armour really amplify the feeling of fitness community with their Map My Fitness app, making it one of the best free workout apps available. Train with confidence as you plan your goals for a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, or Marathon.

                Join the many forums and discussion groups to share tips on how you’re tackling these objectives. Sign up for challenges with other connections you have made.

                Every plan in this app is built to fit your unique goals.

                • Connect with more than 400 devices and software to analyze your fitness stats
                • Sync other apps such as Fitbit or Google Fit to increase your features
                • Download the app for free for Android or iOS.

                6. Freeletics

                Category: General Workout

                  Freeletics is a leading fitness app to customize your fitness journey. This product has a large encyclopedia of bodyweight exercises, so if you have no equipment, this app is ideal.

                  Freeletics allows you to download free HIIT routines that can be monitored through your Apple watch. Create your profile and train wherever, whenever!

                  It also features motivational audio coaching for changing your mindset and nutritional habits.

                  • Very advanced app for people who train without equipment
                  • Download the app for free for Android or iOS.

                  7. Headspace

                  Category: Meditation

                    Given current times, it would be necessary to add Headspace for awareness. Headspace is a well-known guide for relieving stress and anxiety, being especially helpful during social distancing.

                    The app teaches you the correct methods and techniques of practicing meditation, mindfulness, and includes light exercises.

                    • Offering free meditation sessions for a limited time.
                    • Download the app for Android or iOS.

                    8. Gaia

                    Category: Yoga

                      Are you a big-time Yogi? If yes, then you’re guaranteed to find what you want at Gaia.

                      The site hosts a selection of over 8,000 classes (videos) that are ready for you with the touch of a button. The platform is extremely user-friendly and very accessible via phone or laptop.

                      If you like practicing in the park, garden, or living room, I’d give Gaia some consideration. The video descriptions make the decision-making process very easy. Each class gives a summary of the difficulty level, focus, style, and intensity.

                      These statistics are also met with feedback and reviews from current subscribers. Star ratings really give the user a real person perspective when navigating the app for suitable classes.

                      • Features a very comprehensive library of 8000 classes from renowned instructors
                      • Take advantage of their 7-day free trial.

                      9. Aaptiv

                      Category: General Workout

                        Aaptiv is a great app for those who want to work out spontaneously. If you’re somebody who likes listening to programs rather than following them visually, then Aaptiv is the right choice for you.

                        The app talks you through every activity, featuring music licensed by the company. This means you don’t need to worry about operating two apps simultaneously.

                        They also provide a ton of various workouts – everything from strength and cardio to stair climbing and meditation. The vibe from all of the instructors is very uplifting and always consistent.

                        Aaptiv is highly encouraging and has great retention of its subscribers.


                        • No need to worry about setting up the screen position on a phone or tablet.
                        • Takes a brief consultation on your lifestyle habits before getting started.
                        • Take advantage of their free trial.
                        • Available for iOS.

                        10. Tone It Up

                        Category: General Workout

                          The community of women at “Tone It Up” hosts a variety of great classes through their comprehensive app. There are workouts to suit all moods for the user.

                          Get big results from a low-impact barre or yoga class or an intense kettlebell session and set the tone with any level of intensity. The programs are fun and effective. Science-backed recipes are also offered to support getting in top shape.

                          This is a very popular choice for women looking to get fit at home or on the 12move.

                          • Great selection of low to high impact workouts.
                          • Sign up for their free trial on their website.

                          11. Urban

                          Category: Yoga

                            “Stay well but stay put”.

                            Urban couldn’t have said it better with their newly launched Yoga app branded the “stay at home club”. This cool app offers live-streamed sessions for people of all levels with their private instructor.

                            Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced level, the team will pair you with the right instructor to accommodate your practice.

                            Urban also invites you to include your friends in private sessions. Just let your instructor ahead of time and get a great bang for your buck with every personalized session.

                            • Classes are private, many styles available, personalized to the attendee.
                            • Friends can be included for the same rate, which comes at a fantastic value!
                            • Best live streaming for Yoga for 1-1 coaching

                            12. Pilates Anytime

                            Category: Pilates

                              If you’re an avid pilates fan, then “Pilates Anytime” is the full package.

                              The app offers a variety of classes for all levels with different aspiring interests. New videos are updated weekly from a roster of great instructors.

                              The website is easy on the eyes when navigating your practice. Choose from over 3400 classes and commit to monthly challenges to take you to the next grade.

                              • Over 120 experienced pilates teachers
                              • Community forums for discussion with pilates teachers and participants.
                              • Sign up for their 15-day free trial.

                              13. Keelo

                              Category: General Workout

                                These are the fitness gurus that promote themselves as “Functional Fitness For All”. Keelo offers more than 400 complete programs through its modern and efficient app.

                                Need to narrow in on your fitness goals? The app will tailor suitable programs upon inputting information such as goals, fitness experience, and health history.

                                Keelo also offers over 180 instructional videos to improve your form during exercises.

                                They also offer a nice incentive called “Keelo Rewards”. Work hard, complete tasks, and earn points towards free gear and online gifts.

                                • Track functional areas improved, see your strength ratios, calories burned off
                                • The app is Apple Watch optimized to track your programs on your wrist
                                • Download the app for Android or iOS.

                                14. Pilatesology

                                Category: Pilates

                                  Pilatesology is a live streaming service that really fits your needs with its wide range of resources. This app offers everything from beginner mat to advanced reformer work.

                                  The platform dedicates itself to teaching the classical style of Pilates. Workouts are tailored to fit your schedule, skill level, and equipment you have available. Take advantage of their free trial and dive into some classes from some of the most renowned instructors in the industry.

                                  • The website interface is great for pointing beginners in the right direction.
                                  • The “observe and learn” category gives outstanding resources in tips, techniques, workshops, and case studies.

                                  15. Yogateket

                                  Category: Yoga


                                    Hailing from Sweden, Yogateket delivers niche features within its variety of online classes. This site provides meditation and pranayama programs accompanied by all the typical yoga classes you would expect.

                                    Pranayama is the art of controlling your breath. This practice is widely known for improving mental health.

                                    All classes are filmed in Yogateket’s hot yoga studio in Uppsala. These sessions will help you to feel relaxed, gain strength, and feel more flexible than ever.

                                    • Great for niche classes.
                                    • It really promotes flexibility in its hot yoga setting.
                                    • Register for their 14-day Free Trial.

                                    16. Fitness Blender

                                    Category: General Workout

                                      Fitness Blender is highly regarded for its online videos, especially on YouTube. Here you’ll find great workouts for targeting the lower extremities of your body.

                                      The channel has certainly caught the attention of many women seeking killer legs or butt workout. Fitness Blender has been updating new videos online for quite a long time.

                                      Be sure to check them out for their long term experience in virtual fitness. Here’s an example of their iconic workouts for the lower body.

                                      • Veterans in the virtual fitness field.
                                      • Check out their YouTube channel here.

                                      17. Fit On

                                      Category: General Workout

                                        FitOn claims to be the full gym in your pocket. This app is one of the best free workout apps and is highly regarded by all its users. Log in and find hundreds of workouts to take you through several cardio, HIIT, and strength workouts.

                                        FitOn is also great for offering free and postnatal workouts. This supports female users staying active before and after pregnancy.

                                        Bringing a Netflix-style setup for exercise videos, the app offers a vast amount of training drills and instructional videos. Dance, Barre, Yoga, and Pilates are all available in this premium service that’s gone completely free.

                                        • Great for women during pregnancy
                                        • Download the app for Android or iOS.

                                        18. 8Fit

                                        Category: General Workout

                                          8Fit combines personal training and meal planning brilliantly. The primary goals for this app are “weight gain” and “weight loss”.

                                          The service starts with a fitness evaluation, matching you with a timeline for completing fitness and meal programs together. The idea is to correlate your exercise and diet step-by-step to get the best results.

                                          8Fit mostly focuses on HIIT workouts that are short and involve bodyweight exercises.

                                          • Meal planning is a great feature and can help change dietary habits.
                                          • Download the app for Android or iOS.

                                          19. StrongLifts 5×5

                                          Category: Strength Training

                                            Stonglifts is an app dedicated to strength and conditioning, hence, its name. It focuses on 5×5 weightlifting techniques.

                                            Athletes and bodybuilders adopt 5×5 training for building muscle mass and elite strength. It’s designed to hit a muscle group hard 2-3 times per week.

                                            Stronglifts represents 5 exercises, each performed over 5 sets and 5 repetitions. The exercises included are squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press, and barbell row – all completed in three 45-minute routines weekly.

                                            The app gives great demonstrations on how to lift correctly and how to recover between your workouts. Logging your stats every week, StrongLifts 5×5 provides you with a very accurate weekly and monthly report about your progress.

                                            • Very clear cues and instructions on how to perform compound lifts.
                                            • Download the app for Android or iOS.

                                            20. Skimble’s Workout Trainer

                                            Category: General Workout

                                              Whether you’re a fitness newbie or a veteran, Skimble‘s Workout Trainer has the answer. The app is great for keeping you engaged and accountable. It sends you reminders, notifications, and updated reports on your various stats.

                                              Users can also approach personal trainers with different skill sets. Customize your workouts and programs and tackle a library of over 100 different programs.


                                              • This app keeps you in check. Holds you accountable.
                                              • Download the app for Android or iOS.

                                              21. C25k

                                              Category: Running

                                                The hint is in its name. The C25k app is designed to get you off the couch and complete a 5k run.

                                                The program is meant for those who have always contemplated running. Workouts are very gradual, consisting of light jogging intervals to prepare beginners in completing their first five-kilometer challenge.

                                                To reach your goal, you’ll work out for half an hour, 3 times per week for 8 consecutive weeks.

                                                • Great for fresh beginners in running
                                                • Runs through a very thorough warm-up and cool down to prevent injury
                                                • Download the app for Android or iOS.

                                                22. Seven

                                                Category: General Workout

                                                  The award-winning “Seven” has over 3 million subscribers. Join the movement and complete your 7-minute workout daily to keep an optimum level of fitness and stay healthy.

                                                  The friendly cartoon based fitness app is a visually preferable choice for many people. Programs are based on scientific studies to provide maximum benefit in short durations.

                                                  Make connections and compete with friends.

                                                  • Seven has fun features such as unlocking new activities for completing programs
                                                  • The 3D guides are very helpful for learning the form of exercises.
                                                  • Download the app for free for Android or iOS.

                                                  23. Lottie Murphy YouTube Channel

                                                  Category: Pilates

                                                    Lottie is an energetic and enthusiastic pilates instructor from the UK. She is another teacher who has choreographed an exceptional collection of great classes on YouTube.

                                                    Ranging from short abs workouts to resistance band exercises, these routines will have your core feeling stronger, and your body feeling loose and limber. The music also sets the tone very nicely in her sessions.

                                                    • Great routines with resistance bands
                                                    • Core workouts are exceptional
                                                    • Follow her YouTube channel here.

                                                    24. Barre Fitness

                                                    Category: Barre

                                                      Barre Fitness is highly regarded by peers and reviewers. The YouTube channel has a big following for Barre classes. It’s easy to follow, well communicated, and has a great flow.

                                                      The average class time is 10 minutes long, so you can always fit it in your schedule while feeling your workout the next day. Their website offers extensive programs and retreats, including live classes from their virtual studio.

                                                      Try one of their short sessions on YouTube and see if it sparks your interest.

                                                      Clear instruction and classes are short to medium length.

                                                      Check out their YouTube channel here.

                                                      25. Anywhere Fitness

                                                      Category: Personal Training

                                                        Anywhere Fitness is an in-home and online personal training company in the UK. Hosting live sessions online, the trainers also provide weekly and monthly workout and nutrition programs that can be tracked cooperatively by the client and their trainer upon completion.

                                                        The service holds a great sense of companionship and accountability. They are currently offering sample plans during the lockdown.

                                                        • Very suitable for people who want that personal trainer relationship.
                                                        • Workout and nutrition programs are adjusted constantly from client feedback.


                                                        There it is! We come to the end of reviewing your extensive guide for staying fit and healthy at home from our shortlist of the best free workout apps and websites.

                                                        Take some classes, practice mindfulness, and reach out to take advantage of some free trials.

                                                        Find out something you didn’t know about yourself during this time of social isolation and allow it to become your inspiration for the future.

                                                        Featured photo credit: Maddi Bazzocco via


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