Coach Carola recently spoke about the benefits of strength training, and I hope it has encouraged you to add it to your weekly routine. Now that you know strength training is important, are you asking yourself if you should be using LOW REPS with HEAVY WEIGHTS or HIGH REPS with LIGHTER WEIGHTS?
There's a lot of information out there, so let's break it down to the basics.
Some athletes choose to lift heavy weights when they want to achieve more visible muscles or "bulk up," and many people, especially women, are afraid to lift heavy weights for that exact reason.
But is any of this information even true? (Spoiler alert: not really.) Choosing the right weight for you to lift is all about how you're working out, not the number on the dumbbells. BOTH have their place, and BOTH will work to build muscle if used in the correct VOLUME.
Note: Heavier weights can accelerate that process.
Just Starting Out?
If you are just starting out with strength training or returning from a long hiatus, what some may consider "lighter" weights could be plenty of resistance to fatigue your muscles while still allowing you to maintain good form, alignment, and control over the weight.
It may take some time for you to master the exercises with a lighter amount of weight before it’s appropriate or safe for you to increase to the next level. You can also adjust the number of repetitions (or repeat the number of sets you do of an exercise) to add more challenge to your muscles without adding more weight if your body isn’t quite ready for it.
Experienced With Lifting Weights?
On the other hand, if you have been training for years at the same weight range and are no longer seeing positive progress, it may be time to consider leveling up in terms of your load.
The good news is that if you prefer lifting lighter weights, studies show that when worked to the point of fatigue, lighter weights can be just as effective at building muscle and strength.
All of the research, experts, advice etc. is great, but the bottom line is that you know your body best. Be sure to focus on what works and feels best to you.
- 1-5 reps will work your max strength
- 8-12 reps will build your muscle strength
- 15+ reps will develop muscular strength and endurance.
What kind of weight do you like to use during your strength training workouts?