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“The goal of your workouts should be to work your muscles to the point of fatigue (i.e., when you can no longer do another rep) no matter how much weight you are using. So whether you are doing five dumbbell curls with a 20-pound weight, or 20 reps with a 5-pound weight, as long as you are getting to the point of muscle fatigue, you’ll get stronger,” writes the US-based wellness journalist Mercey Livingston in an article called Lifting Heavy Weights vs. Light Weights: Why One Isn’t Better Than The Other.

Lifting lighter weights can help you master form and technique.
(Istockphoto)


I usually get frustrated with bicep exercises. I can’t go beyond 7-8 reps on something as light as two 7.5kg plates on either side of an EZ bar. Years of working out means I can give you 40 reps of handstand pushups (which are surely tougher than bicep curls) over five sets, but biceps, no, that is something that I haven’t been able to crack. So after accepting this, I have rejigged my arms day to working with light dumbbells and doing sets in a 45 seconds on/15 seconds off pattern. Five basic bicep exercises over 10 minutes with that formula leads to more muscle fatigue and a better day at the gym. Sometimes, by using lighter weights, you can also master form and technique.

Also Read: Five great pull-up variations to get stronger

It is only recently that scientific analysis has been made to find out if lighter weights are as effective to build muscle, and not just endurance. After all, this is what passes for conventional gym wisdom. A 2016 study called Pumping Iron: Lighter Weights Just As Effective As Heavier Weights To Gain Muscle, Build Strength published in the Journal Of Applied Physiology found something interesting. It compared two groups of experienced lifters over a 12-week period in which one group used lighter weights (up to 50% of maximum strength) “for sets ranging from 20 to 25 repetitions. The other group lifted heavier weights (up to 90 per cent of maximum strength) for eight to 12 repetitions. Both groups lifted to the point of failure.” The conclusion, using muscle and blood samples said that gains in muscle mass …….

Source: https://lifestyle.livemint.com/health/fitness/do-you-really-need-to-lift-heavy-weights-for-muscle-growth-111617185905278.html

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