More Reps or More Resistance?


Crazy like a...
MT Mentor
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Jan 16, 2006
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I don't know how endurance fits into everything though. It may be that light weights and many repetitions would be good for endurance, particularly for martial arts. It's something I'm hoping to find out myself as I continue to learn more.

Light weights and multiple reps are essentially a glorified cardiovascular workout. The disadvantage is that its not an effective use of our time. There are more effective ways to put on muscle, and to get a good cardio workout.

Lifting heavier weights puts on more muscle tissue, which burns fat as well as increases our endurance to do whatever it is we want to do, including martial arts.

The photos of overly muscular women in bodybuilding magazines is not possible for a normal female, without the use of steroids.

One example I can share is Melissa Byers, who runs Crossfit 603 up my way. Melissa is insanely strong but she doesn't have a freakishly muscular physique. Here is her Crossfit school blog and her personal blog, respectively:


Yellow Belt
Jul 15, 2009
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North Carolina
That's good to know. I plan on lifting heavy per the NROLFW book, but I wasn't sure if I'd need to do anything with light weights on off days for endurance. I hear about people who do something like 500 punches in a day while holding light weights and so wasn't sure if that was something I'd need to work up to doing. If heavy lifting takes care of that too, then that's all the better.

Nice blogs!


Master of Arts
Mar 20, 2004
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Long Island
NROLFW does include endurance work, specifically interval training, on the same days as some of the weight work-outs. However, since I assume you're a martial artist, I figure you'll be doing martial arts as well as strength training, so that should certainly help endurance. Like me, you might also be doing other cardio-type of activities--cycling, swimming, whatever.

Live True

Brown Belt
Nov 23, 2007
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Palmyra, VA
I have also recently bought and started using NROLFW. The beginning sessions start with setting a baseline and doing some whole body workouts (squats, lifts, pikes on a ball, etc.). Later sessions work in interval training etc.

Like Phoenix, I consider my MA training good cardio that I work on opposite days of my weight training. In a short time, I've noticed some good gains on my basic movements and muscle definition. I have a lot of weight to lose, so I've been going slow but steady, and it's been a good program.

I don't think women need to lift gonzo weights to make good progress (but if you get there, good for you). But I agree women tend to lift weights that are way too light. You can still get that zone mentality and lift slow and steady with reasonable weights, but I think the 1-3 pound weights are really only for working on injured areas with a PT...until you can get back to normal weights that actually challenge you.

Another book that has great pictures for lots of basic moves, and is written by a woman who is a certified physical trainer and physical therapist Assistant: Strength Training For Women by Lori Incledon. This is a good book for basics, and then NROLFW is, I feel, the next step. I think both give you some good information so you can design your own program.

Good luck!