May 04, 2012 4:47 PM GMT
If you're new to exercising the thought of sitting underneath a 200 pound barbell is probably pretty terrifying. However, if you can't lift heavy weights or they just scare you a little bit, research published in the Journal of Applied Physiology suggests that lighter weights can have the same muscle building effect provided you do more reps.
Resistance training and muscle building exercises are intimidating to anyone starting to exercise and subsequently a lot of people stay away from it because they can't imagine lifting the heavy weights. This research suggests that lifting small weights—even as low as 30% of your maximum—can have have nearly the same benefit as heavy loads. This is great news for people who shy away from muscle building resistance training because it means that small, less intimidating weights lifted with enough repetitions (three sets of 25-30 reps) have the same positive health effects as heavy ones. Combine this with a few of the most common exercise myths and hitting the gym shouldn't be intimidating at all.