More Weight or More Reps? What’s the Difference?

Senior Exerciser

People are always asking should I lift more weight or just do more repetitions with the same weight?

Well the answer is… it depends.

  • It depends on your physical health (do you have any injuries that would inhibit your ability to lift heavier weights).
  • It depends on your age.
  • It depends on how much time you have to work out.

The goal of lifting weights is to build muscle and bone density.  You build muscle by doing enough repetitions with a heavy enough weight to reach muscle failure.  By breaking down the muscle you actually build it up.

Since the name of my business in Fitting Fitness In, I give programs you can do in 30 minutes, I tend to have people do one set of exercises with a heavier weight.  This way they get the most results for the time they put in.

However, if my client is older than I may have them do more repetitions with a lighter weight until they reach muscle failure.

Muscle failure really is the key factor.  You have to get to muscle failure to build your muscles.   You can do that by lifting heavier weight or by doing more reps.


Holly Kouvo is a certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Specialist, speaker and writer who specializes in helping people lose hundreds of pounds. Learn more at

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