“Is it better to bench press an Olympic bar 100 times then to put 20kg on it and do 4 reps?”– Wes Barker
Your body is a very adaptable system. If you stress it with a ‘lighter’ load, it will quickly adapt and become much more efficient at performing the task (The SAID Principle). However, your muscles will stop being challenged and you will not continue making gains. Your set will turn into a marathon effort that will stress your joints and leave you mentally crushed.
That is why your workout should not only incorporate different rep ranges, but also different and varying loads, i.e., amount of weight lifted for a particular exercise. The more you push the intensity, and challenge your body in different ways, the more sustainable progress you will make. (The Principle of Progressive Overload)
Yes, lifting an Olympic bar 100 times can create enough stress to cause adaptation, but you’re sacrificing efficiency. Wouldn’t you rather add weight, create the stress required for greater muscle growth and strength, and then move on in much less time?
Meet the Lift Doctor
Jim Smith is a highly respected, world-renowned strength and conditioning coach. A member of the LIVESTRONG.com Fitness Advisory Board, Jim has been called one of the most "innovative strength coaches" in the fitness industry. Training athletes, fitness enthusiasts and weekend warriors, Jim has dedicated himself to helping them reach "beyond their potential." He is also the owner of Diesel Strength & Conditioning in Elmira, NY.