High load, low rep squats fatigue you more than lower load, high rep sets. Everyone knows that.

But is it actually true?

I’ve got a surprise for you: research shows that in trained men, squatting 8 sets of 10 reps with just 70% of 1-rep max caused more than 2 times the fatigue as 8 sets of 3 reps with a scary 90% of 1-rep max.

Seems counter-intuitive?

Just think about it: after all these sets with high-load 180 lbs squats (90%), you may still be able to do 160 lbs squats.

However, after 8 sets of 140 lbs squats (70%), you will probably not be able to do one 160 lbs squat.

Just goes to show: light weights done for high reps are going to need a lot more recovery.

If you’re burnt out, you’re better off doing high-loads for lower reps than low-loads for higher reps.

Study: Bartolomei et al (2018): Comparison of the recovery response from high-intensity
and high-volume resistance exercise in trained men.


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