The race for improving our physical aspect is on, and the main advantage is that, if you are doing it properly, you’ll also become healthier and stronger. Weight training covers both strength and looks, so there’s no mystery about increasingly more people including it into their exercise routine. With the best Olympic weight set, you can get in shape fast and start growing those huge arms you’ve been dreaming about. Not your thing? No problem. You can use lighter weights and do more reps that will strengthen your arms without making you bulky. It is all possible, as long as you combine the right weights with the right exercises.
This being said, let’s take a look at one of the controversies in this field. When starting with this type of workout, many people ask themselves if they should lift light and do more reps or heavy with only a few reps for their muscles to grow faster. The truth is that each method has its benefits and will fit better for some lifters, as you will see in the following paragraphs.
Light Weights and High Reps
While most beginner lifters imagine themselves walking into a gym and lifting a huge Olympic dumbbell from the start, experienced lifters can testify that this job is far from being this easy. First, because the muscles need to be trained and strengthened to be able to hold such great weight. Secondly, the beginner needs to learn the technique of safely lifting hundreds of pounds.
This being said, it is always a good idea to start with light weights and raise the intensity of the training gradually. In this situation, it will be the count of the reps that will make the muscle get tired, getting you to the point where fatigue sets in. This is your purpose: to work out until you can no longer do any rep, and with light weights, you’ll do considerably more of them.
- This type of training helps you get accustomed to lifting weights and allows you to raise the intensity as your muscles grow stronger
- It usually doesn’t result in huge arms but in strong and firm muscles, so it is perfect if you are not looking to get bulky
- Can be done at home without supervision, as the risks of getting injured are lower
- It takes longer for the results to show up
- If you are trying to get bulkier, you will eventually need to move up on lifting heavy weights
They are a good choice for staying in shape and strengthening your muscles. As they are smaller, they can be used for a broader range of exercises, today being included even in Pilates and Yoga routines.
Heavy Weights and Low Reps
With heavy weights, things get serious. This is the type of training you will eventually pick if you are serious about getting your muscles bigger and stronger. Lifting heavier means that you will do fewer reps, as the huge load your body needs to sustain will quickly make it tired, pushing it into muscle fatigue. The purpose is attained faster, therefore this method is more efficient. Bodybuilders use it, and, it is good to know that if you do it wisely, it can also provide good cardio training. For instance, once you’ve got comfortable lifting a certain load, you can try some squats and get your heart pumping.
- You will get larger and stronger muscles in a shorter period while improving your balance
- You will develop better resistance and also get good cardio exercise
- If you are looking to lose weight, a set of intense workouts including heavy weights will help you do it faster
- If you are a beginner, you may not be able to handle the heavy load or even injure yourself if you try to do the lifting without supervision
- You will get bulky, so if you are trying to become strong but slim, it is better to go for light weights
Both Methods Will Help You Gain Muscle
While not both of them will offer you huge muscles, there’s no doubt that, in terms of strength, they will deliver almost the same results. This comes from a study that was performed by McMaster University in Ontario, and which proved that lifting light weights for 20 to 25 reps equaled lifting heavy weights for 8 to 12 reps. Thus, the only difference between these two types of workouts is the time it takes to get to the result. If you are looking to grow your muscles slowly while getting stronger, go for more reps and lighter loads. Otherwise, start slow but increase the load considerably until you can lift that Olympic weight set you’ve been dreaming of trying.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, the most important thing you need to remember is to know and respect your limits. Never try an exercise until you are sure you are ready for it, and, just as in life, take it slow until you reach your goal. Weight lifting is about preparing your body for increasingly heavier lifts, so each step is important. Moreover, remember that you can use light weights your entire life without having to shift to heavier ones, as long as they remain efficient. Thus, you can increase the number of reps and use them in other exercise routines that will offer you the cardio intensity you need.