I get asked a lot, about how many exercise repetitions a person should perform, for an exercise to be effective. The short answer is…it depends.

It depends on:

  • Your fitness goals. Are you looking to build muscle or lose fat?
  • How much you exercise in a week. The more times you workout and the longer the length of time, the more variety you can and should add into your routine.
  • Your exercise experience. Are you brand new to lifting weights, or have you been doing it for years?

Let’s explore these two different workout styles.

Exercising With High Repetitions

Benefits of High Exercise Repetitions:

  • Reduced risk of injury. Lighter weight loads reduce the strain placed on your joints. This is an especially important consideration when you’re just beginning your fitness journey.
  • Realize cardio benefits simultaneously. When you’re pumping out an exercise at a quicker pace with lighter weights, your cardio (heart) health is often being worked on more.
  • Build muscle. High reps will get you toned and build up your strength, it may just take a little longer.

My Favourite High Rep Workout Styles

Bodyweight Training: The easiest and most versatile fitness tool we have is our own body weight. Regardless of the fitness level, I spend at least 25% of each and every fitness program working with just someone’s body weight.

The ‘Stomach Screamers’ and ‘Reverse Planks’ are 2 of my favourite body weight moves that focus on strengthening your core.

Resistance Band Exercises:
When you’re working with a lighter weight load, it’s better to increase the repetitions of an exercise. Tools like resistance bands, are perfect to use with high reps. You can work your whole body by using these bands. The banded walk and banded rows are a couple of my favourite exercises to use with versatile resistance bands.


Exercising With Low Exercise Repetitions

Benefits of Low Reps:

  • Speedier muscle growth and toning. Lifting heavy weights does wonders to quickly build up your muscle mass. It gets you toned quickly.
  • Get more of that ‘muscle burn’ feeling. Some people love the feeling of their muscles burning the day after a hard workout. In my experience, you feel this burn more after a low rep, heavy weight session.

My Favourite Low Rep Styles

Weight Machines: This is my favourite exercise equipment to use slowly and with a really heavy weight. I love feeling the muscle burn after a few exercise repetitions with a heavy weight on a weight machine.


Compound exercises: These are the fitness moves that work more than one muscle group and multiple joints at a time. They’re efficient and effective because they require more than one muscle to complete, leading you to burn more calories in less time – we all want that don’t we? My favourite compound exercises include squats, deadlifts, lunges, pull-ups and chest presses.


As you can see, both low and high repetition exercise styles build muscle, in addition to helping you get toned and strong. In my opinion, it is good to switch things up throughout the week. You want to train with both low and high reps to increase your strength and to continue seeing changes in your physique. The variety forces your body to continue to adapt and change. It keeps your body and mind more stimulated. I love performing 2 days a week of heavy weight lifting with low reps. The other 2 days I enjoy lifting lighter weights with more reps.

To Sum it up…Are High or Low Reps Better, When Exercising?

There are many benefits to both high and low repetition weight training. Try the exercise formats and styles above, to see which type of training you prefer. If you are looking for the best results possible, from your fitness training, I recommend you perform both types of training regularly.