Gain Muscle by Lifting Lighter Weights

It’s always said that: “Lift heavy, gain muscle”. It also may explain why so many strength trainers are counted among the walking wounded, as using heavy weights increases the likelihood of using poor form. And poor form leads the way to get injured. However, the idea that heavy weights are the only way to increase muscle mass means that a lot of people who should be lifting weights for overall health, wellness and general conditioning are not, in fact, lifting weights at all. After all, they may wonder why they should risk getting hurt or feeling intimidated, opting instead sticks to nonresistance-based activities.

Straining to lift very heavy weights isn’t the only way to pump up muscles, say researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Similar results can be achieved, they say, by lifting light weights a greater number of times.

Fortunately, groundbreaking research offers new motivation for beginners to start lifting weights and veteran lifters to consider easing up on the pounds. The research also suggests that lifting lighter weights can be as beneficial as lifting much heavier loads for fewer reps, and that the key lies in performing the reps to exhaustion. In other words, it’s not about how much you lift, but rather how intensely you lift.

Another key outcome of the study was that none of the strength gains or growth in muscle size is connected to the presence of growth hormone or testosterone, which is believed to be necessary for significant strength gains. This should be especially encouraging for women who do not produce as much testosterone or growth hormone as men. This means that women can experience the same proportional improvement in strength as men by following a “lift-to-failure” workout routine.

It is important to note that, even when using lighter loads, going to failure should be performed with caution. Muscular exhaustion increases the likelihood of losing proper technique when the body fatigues, which can lead to injury. It’s always a good idea to listen to your body and take note of how you feel. When you notice the first sign of breaking form, it’s time to rack the weight, grab some water and take a rest. It doesn’t matter if you’re lifting light weights—if you rep out to where you start shaking, straining, or breaking form to get the last couple reps, you risk hurting yourself.

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