REPS

For tone without bulk, Towersey advises high reps and low weight – think a weight you can still lift with correct form at the end of your 15 to 25 reps. Less time under tension is associated

come in. Yet for cardio-phobes, there is another option. Weights can stand in for cardio. Endurance strength, which is very high repetitions, focuses more on tone and not on size by working on the endurance of the muscles and range of movement and keeping heart rate elevated the whole time, says Towersey. On the flipside, if muscle size is a goal, you won’t be adversely affected by longer or shorter rests. In a study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, recreationally strength-trained participants in a six-month training protocol designed for hypertrophy who incorporated two-minute rests between sets exhibited insignificant differences in 1RM or muscle size to peers resting for five minutes. Towersey advises that for workouts within the eight to 12 rep range, rests of about 60 seconds are optimal for tone.

with tone while more time under tension is linked to greater rates of muscular protein synthesis (translation, bigger muscles, provided diet is structured to favour synthesis from dietary protein rather than existing muscle). In a study published in The Journal of Physiology of lifting to failure, participants lifting a light load of 30 per cent of their 1RM with six seconds per movement experienced 37 per cent greater protein synthesis elevation (114 per cent) than those lifting for a minute (77 per cent). If muscle growth is a goal – and it is often sought by women wanting to create shape and elevate metabolism – reps should be between eight and 12 with a moderate weight that leaves you struggling for the last two.

 

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