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.
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.