Make the most of your workout!
Recently I had a question during one of my Weight Training Workshops, which was “shouldn’t men only lift heavy weights to bulk up and women should lift lighter weights to tone?” Which is quite possibly the most frustrating question we trainers get. Let’ me say this loud and clear: “Toning” is a myth. You cannot change the shape of your muscles. You can make your muscles bigger or smaller – it’s a binary mechanism. Read more here.
But let’s press on to what I think people are really asking which is… “does it matter if I lift heavy weights for less reps, or lighter weights with more reps”… now this is a good question. My answer was something like “it doesn’t matter what weight you lift – or how many reps you do – so long as you lift until you are fatiguing the muscles. Hence, lifting lighter weights gives you the same effect, it just takes you longer to get there.”
I love when I am right
A new study by the Journal of Applied Physiology demonstrated just this: “
“With one leg the study volunteers did the conventional 80-percent-of-maximum lifts until they reached fatigue, at 8 to 10 reps. The other leg lifted 30 percent of maximum until fatigue set in, around 25 reps. At the start of the study and 10 weeks later, the researchers put all the volunteers into MRI scanners to measure their quadriceps. There was essentially no difference between the heavy and light lifters.”
This is great news for anyone (older adults, women, and beginning lifters) who don’t feel they can (or want to) lift at 80% of their maximum “one rep” weight. But let me say this one more time… THE TRICK IS TO FATIGUE YOUR MUSCLES… how you get there doesn’t seem to matter.