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 50kg 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.

Photo by Free Stock Images.

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 per cent of your maximum -- can 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.

Light Weights Are Just as Good for Building Muscle, Getting Stronger, Research Finds [ScienceDaily]


Comments

    But the heavy ones are so much more fun.

      And time efficient.

        Correct Rossco - most people don't have the time to do the low weight/high rep workout

    ...and the chicks are more impressed.

    Grunt as well while you lift... For extra effect, get a guy to spot you while yelling out loud "It's all you bro!".

    This has been proven to cause a different type of muscle fatigue and rebuild, and does not get close to the results of lifting large weights at lower reps (see Stronglifts, Rippetoe 5x5 etc).

    If you want to get big, you gotta lift big.

    Cue backyard 'fitness trainers' trying to prove me wrong.

    This has been proven to cause a different type of muscle fatigue and rebuild, and does not get close to the results of lifting large weights at lower reps (see Stronglifts, Rippetoe 5x5 etc).

    If you want to get big, you gotta lift big.

    Cue backyard 'fitness trainers' trying to prove me wrong.

      I think it might be to get Strong, you have to lift heavy...at least that is what I took away from SS, Stronglifts). The actual muscle size is the concern of body builders (along with vascularity, all-body waxing and over using the words "bro", "brah", "mirin" and ironically "nohomo").

        Yup, fryie is completely correct, tension (ie. heavy weights) is a much more important stimulus to strength and mass gains than fatigue. I'm getting a bit frustrated with lifehacker...... as of late there seems to be quite a lot of rubbish concerning diet, nutrition and exercise clogging up my feed. If I wanted to hear about contrarian 'secrets' regarding these topics I'd grab whatever magazine in the supermarket that has a story on 5 minute abs or an incredible detox diet or whatever baloney shortcut is getting peoples attention that week. Seriously LH, lift your game! You're not a health and fitness blog, and generally get everything wrong when you try to cover it, just give it a rest! Or atleast try to find a staffer that has a clue about these topics. Then again, those magazines at the supermarket do seem to be popular, so perhaps you know your audience and regurgitating incorrect nonsense is the order of the day. Carry on.

    Yeah buddy .... light weight !!!!!!!!

    30% of your max for 25-30 reps?!? Holy Moly, what a break through!!

    Imagine if you were REALLY scared of heavy weights, you could go 5% of your max for 150-200 reps!!

      I lift 0% of my max all day every day, and I'm huge.

      ...Well fat. But still huge.

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