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Squat and DL rep ranges

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  • Squat and DL rep ranges

    Hello. I've been training regularly for about 9 months now. 48 years old, 235 lbs and primarily looking to loose some body fat while gaining some muscle and overall health. I started with a linear program - sets of five on squat, deadlift and bench. I then did your beginner program. I've tried your hypertrophy and body building programs as well as some other similar programs and have enjoyed these as well.

    My problem. Understanding lower rep ranges largely work strength and higher rep ranges more for hypertrophy. For squats and deadlifts, I really struggle with the higher rep ranges even when dropping the weight significantly. For deadlifts, I've found a weight range that I can do 10 reps but it is exhausting - peaked heart rate etc. For squats, I find it difficult to do more than 7-8 reps with even 50 percent of my one rep max. For both these exercises, at five reps with heavy weight I'm good, but more reps even at lower weight is incredibly difficult. I don't have this problem with the bench or overhead press or isolation exercises. I imagine that squats and deadlifts are just systemically more taxing for me. And/or maybe cardio needs improvement - I walk at a steady state around 5-6 hours a week; 3 to 4 miles a session - but no jogging or HIIT.

    Questions. For squats and deadlifts, should I swap these out with alternative exercises that I can do for more reps? Should I stick with sets of five on these two exercises? Should I suck it up and keep trying? Is cardio my issue? Maybe a combination of all the above? Any thoughts?


  • #2

    Thanks for the post and I hope everything is going well on your end.

    I think there's a disconnect between our views on strength and hypertrophy. Both high and low rep ranges build both strength and hypertrophy. Strength is specific to the context, e.g. maximal strength, strength endurance, high velocity strength, etc. Getting stronger at higher rep ranges, as demonstrated by being able to use more weight for a given exercise, ROM, and exertion level, is an increase in strength.

    If we're talking about building maximal strength, then yes , higher intensity work in necessarily lower rep ranges are more specific to that, though we don't find it useful for newer trainees to specialize in this.

    It sounds like you would benefit from increasing your work capacity specific to resistance training, which is best done by exposing yourself to different rep schemes, loads, exercises, etc. This is how the beginner program was designed.

    We would recommend continuing the higher rep ranges as programmed, but if you want to change the exercises to any of the other ones listed in the drop-down menu, that'd be fine.


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