Study: Lifting Light Weights Is Just as Good at Building Muscle as Heavy Weights (so long as you do more reps)

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 04, 2012 4:47 PM GMT
    http://lifehacker.com/5906947/lifting-light-weights-is-just-as-good-at-building-muscle-as-heavy-weights

    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.
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    May 04, 2012 5:13 PM GMT
    Bicyclers and runners should be proof of this. Most of them hardly ever lift, but their legs are huge.
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    May 04, 2012 7:16 PM GMT
    Where's Chucky, I figure he would comment about hypertrophy...?
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    May 04, 2012 7:21 PM GMT
    german volume training

    high reps lower weights

    you'll be sore for sure, but it works well
    with adequate protein intake
  • GWriter

    Posts: 1446

    May 04, 2012 7:24 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidBicyclers and runners should be proof of this. Most of them hardly ever lift, but their legs are huge.

    Actually, runners don't have huge legs; sprinters have huge legs. Marathoners have skinny legs, which contraindicates the study. Heavy or explosive movements induce hypertrophy; endurance training does not.
  • GWriter

    Posts: 1446

    May 04, 2012 7:27 PM GMT
    tnybcc saidgerman volume training

    high reps lower weights

    you'll be sore for sure, but it works well
    with adequate protein intake

    Sorry to seem pedantic, but German Volume Training is not high reps. Ten reps is low to medium rep hypertrophy training. Doing ten sets makes it high volume, but not high reps.
    But yea, you are right about being sore!!
  • metta

    Posts: 39144

    May 04, 2012 7:29 PM GMT
    yep...this guy built his body by focusing on form and focus over anything else:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/vicsnatural/featured

    I think it is a healthier way to go because it reduces your chances of injury and damage to the organs.
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    May 04, 2012 7:40 PM GMT
    Heh.

    The ego wants to do the 300+lbs deadlifts.

    My discs at L4-S1 disagree strongly with my ego.
  • slimnmuscly

    Posts: 541

    May 04, 2012 7:49 PM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidWell, that's good to read.

    I'm actually not very strong for my size. I can only bench 240lb as a one rep max and deadlift 280lb. I'm structurally not capable of lifting more and I've been lifting for over twenty years.

    At least my body responds well to exercise.


    That, in turn, is good to read. I've always felt like I "should" be stronger, even as I've generally been happy with my how my body responds to lighter weights.
  • swimbikerun

    Posts: 2835

    May 04, 2012 10:05 PM GMT
    great article thanks!
  • mindandmuscle

    Posts: 44

    May 04, 2012 10:27 PM GMT
    I get a better pump by doing lighter weights and maxing out on reps. The key for all my lifting, whether it's light or heavy, is to concentrate on form and focus on the muscle(s) being worked.
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    May 07, 2012 3:01 AM GMT
    This thread speaks to me. Been lifting light to moderate weight for 4-set rep schemes of roughly 25, 20, 15 and 10, emphasizing strict proper form. Learned much about form when I started from the Vic Costa training vids mentioned above. I owe that man my lats and biceps peaks!

    *EDIT* I've been slowly but steadily increasing the weight lifted.
  • MuscleComeBac...

    Posts: 2376

    May 07, 2012 3:23 AM GMT
    A couple of things - one, this isn't new science. It's 101.

    Seondly, the emphasis is on "NEARLY" in the sentence "... have nearly the same benefit as heavy loads."

    Time under tension, and progressive overload play a role here. You can't grow if you don't increase both. The body will adapt. Even hyperplasia will cease, and actually hypertrophy goes on longer than hyperplasia, as the adaptation to load comes before the adaptation to volume. Still, if you simply increase the reps but don't increase the load, you shift from anaerobic to aerobic activity and stop hypertrophy altogether, and will lose some of the gained size as well.

    This is not news.
  • DR2K

    Posts: 346

    May 07, 2012 4:29 AM GMT
    I do a combination of both. Gooo me!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 07, 2012 4:45 AM GMT
    To build muscle it isn't the weights and sets, and the reps. It's the stimulus, if you stimulate it right, your muscles will grow. I just like lifting heavy weight to make the other guys in the gym look bad icon_razz.gif
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    May 07, 2012 7:36 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle said^ From my time at the gym I've learned that overall strength is no indication of muscle size. There are guys that look like skinny regular Joes. In fact, they don't even look all that athletic or muscular. But they are stronger than me when it comes to squatting and deadlifting.


    This.

    I once thought I had a size advantage on this one farmer's son about my age when I thought I'd wrestle with him.

    Dude thrashed me hard - and was about 30lbs lighter than me - nearly a twink. But the muscle he did have was insanely strong from years of hard work.