It may boost your ego to lift giant barbells off the rack, but it won't help your actual muscles as much. A study of 15 young men suggests that higher repetition on lighter weights is the route to gaining strength.
Photo by midiman.
Bulkier gym rats can still use the heavier bars and disks, but for those intimidated by how little they can lift, take comfort in the cold hard facts arrived at by McMaster University researchers:
"Rather than grunting and straining to lift heavy weights, you can grab something much lighter but you have to lift it until you can't lift it anymore," says Stuart Phillips, associate professor of kinesiology at McMaster University. "We're convinced that growing muscle means stimulating your muscle to make new muscle proteins, a process in the body that over time accumulates into bigger muscles."
Over time, of course, your definition of "much lighter" should shift upwards, but that's a good thing.