Science Says You Don’t Have To Lift Heavy To See Gains

PSA: This one goes out to all the bros who grunt really loudly and drop their weights – STOP THAT! No seriously, stop that because science says you can.

A paper recently published by researchers from McMaster University, may change how you approach your weight training at the gym. According to the scientists, lifting lighter weights with more repetitions may be just as effective as lifting heavier weights with fewer repetitions.

So, what’s the secret? It’s all in the fatigue you feel from lifting. The lead author, Stuart Phillips, told McMaster University, that it doesn’t matter how heavy the weight that you are lifting is, if you lift it until you are exhausted.

The study itself compared two groups of men for 12 weeks. One group lifted lighter weights for 20-25 repetitions, while the other group lifted heavier weights for 8-12 repetitions. Both groups lifted until they reached the exhausted phase. After analyzing muscle and blood samples, they found that despite the difference in weights, that muscle mass and muscle fibre size (which are key measurements of strength), were nearly identical!

What’s so exciting about this anyway? Well, before this study, most people believed the idea that lifting heavy = making gains. This research is flipping that message on it’s head: it’s not the WEIGHT that matters, it’s your fatigue that does.

So what does this mean for you? Well for one it might make it easier for you to work out and stay healthy. Invest in a home dumbbell kit that allows you to do simple and space-saving, yet effective workouts at home. I’ve had a set of 5 pound dumbbells in my room for the past few months, and it’s a great way to sneak in some reps during commercials of my favourite TV show!

Whatever way you end up working out, always make sure to drink lots of water and eat enough food to fuel your body.

Featured image via adidaswomen

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