Lifting lighter weights for more repetitions works your muscles just as much as doing just a few reps with very heavy weights, so you'll gain the same amount of strength either way. If your goal is to increase the size of your muscles, you'll want to lift heavy weights for a few explosive reps.
Lifting heavy weights burns more body fat than lifting light weights, and the heavier the weight, the more calories you burn with each rep. By lifting heavier weights for a fewer reps, which calls for a shorter workout, actually builds more muscle than a longer workout using lighter weights. The standard advice is that you should perform high rep sets using light weights for fat loss and low rep sets with heavy weights for strength and muscle gain may not be as clear cut as it seems. For years, the misnomer that you should do high rep sets with light weights to lose weight and burn fat and heavy weights for lower reps to build muscle has been plaguing gyms across the land. In practice, it makes sense – when you lift a light weight for a high number of reps, you really feel the burn. Those trying to build muscle on the other hand have always been advises to keep their reps slightly lower. It’s true that tough high rep sets will burn calories and fat, but then so will any weight training.
Due to the damage caused to the muscles weight training, your metabolic rate is elevated during the recovery process, and you burn more calories for up to 72 hours after a session.
The number of reps you do doesn’t matter though – it’s all about intensity – work hard and you’ll burn fat and create that metabolic advantage. The lactic acid produced from high rep sets can have a positive effect on fat loss, as it causes a slight spike in testosterone and growth hormone, but again, heavy lifting can also do that.
When performing high rep sets, the weight may be lighter than it would be when you’re going heavy, but at no point should it feel light or easy. If you’re building muscle, you’ll probably do well sticking in the 8 to 12 range, but always going heavy can cause a plateau in results as you’re not stimulating all your muscle fibers correctly.

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He's been writing fitness articles since 2012 and has worked at "Men’s Fitness" and "Muscle & Fitness" magazines. However, the weight amount does affect the type of muscle fibers recruited when you lift, which determines whether you're building endurance strength or explosive strength.
All your muscles have both types, but the type of fiber activated during an exercise depends on your exertion level.
Because they recruit fast-twitch fibers, heavy weights also burn more fat after your workout.
Because you naturally lose bone density over time, maintaining a high bone density is crucial for warding off osteoporosis, especially for post-menopausal women. There are those lifting weights no bigger than pencils for a ridiculous number of repetitions while others lift lumps of iron heavier than their cars for one or two reps, then collapse in a quivering, red-faced heap. Not super-low powerlifter style training, but certainly lower than the standard fat loss ranges.
While cardio is often considered the daddy of fat loss training, lifting weights burns calories too. There’s also the temptation to keep pushing the weights up, leading to poor form and potential injuries. Lifting heavier weights also releases more muscle-growth and fat-burning hormones than lifting light weights.
Lifting weights so heavy that you can't quite manage 10 reps requires fast-twitch muscle fibers for explosive power. Fast-twitch fibers tap into fat stores in your body for energy, since it's available more quickly than oxygen.

If your 10 rep maximum is with 30-lb dumbbells, and you decide to go all out with a pair of 15s, you’ll probably hit 20, 25 or maybe even 30 reps. Bodybuilding magazines usually prescribe sets of eight to 12 reps, using a weight that causes you to reach muscular failure somewhere within those guidelines.
Half an hour of lifting might not burn as many calories as half an hour on the treadmill, but weight lifting has a powerful effect on metabolism that cardio doesn’t have. Lifting lighter weights for more than 20 reps recruits your slow-twitch muscle fibers for muscular endurance. The benefit of more muscle growth hormones in women is that while your muscles won't get bigger, their appearance will be enhanced by muscle definition. As a result, lots of fat-burning hormones are released that continue burning fat eight hours after your workout.
The safest way to lift heavy weights for a few explosive reps is to use machine weights, so you don't have to balance the heavy weight in your hands or on your shoulders. You’ll get an intense burn in your shoulders, and triceps too, and feel like you’re literally torching the fat away. The explosive power you gain from lifting heavy weights is required for jumping, sprinting and other quick movements. Light weights recruit slow-twitch fibers, which only continue burning fat for an hour after your workout. The increased blood flow to the muscles will also make your veins stand out as blood fills the tissue and makes your muscles look ripped. Muscular endurance, gained by lifting lighter weights for more reps, helps with extended cardio activities such as long-distance running and cycling.

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