Sunday, August 5, 2012

Lift Light Weights..Realize The Same Potential

Recently researchers  turned weightlifting conventional wisdom on its head. The researchers found that lifting less weight more times was just as effective at building muscle when compared to training with heavier weights.

The research, which was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology challenged the widely accepted idea that training with heavy weights at low repetitions was the best way to increase muscle growth. Although lifting with heavier weights does increase muscle growth and strength many people in the population, including older adults, have joint problems that prevent them from training with these heavy loads. With this new research we find that those subjects who cannot safely lift heavy weights can still increase muscle growth and strength with lower loads.

This study consisted of grouping participants into three different programs. The first program consisted of one set at 80% of the maximal load.  The second program had each participant lift three sets at 80% of the maximum and the last group was required to lift three sets at 30% of the maximum load.

" After 10 weeks of training, three times per week, the heavy and light groups that lifted three sets saw significant gains in muscle volume – as measured by MRI – with no difference among the groups."1

So the next time that you go to the gym, if you have musculoskeletal problems, remember that you can lift lighter weights and still benefit with increased muscle mass and strength.

Ref: C. J. Mitchell, T. A. Churchward-Venne, D. D. W. West, N. A. Burd, L. Breen, S. K. Baker, S. M. Phillips. Resistance exercise load does not determine training-mediated hypertrophic gains in young men. Journal of Applied Physiology, 2012

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