Physical therapy and injury recovery is not the same as "toning".
People who lift light weights because they need to help a muscle recover or specifically build endurance in a muscle are going it about it correctly.
People who lift light weights because they want "long, lean muscles" are misguided.
Light weights may have their place, but it's not in changing how you look or in helping with weight loss.
Deb, in New Zealand
Fitness Minutes: (7,898)
2,812 7/5/10 12:20 A
Lifting light weight does give you benefit despite what you think; ask anyone who has suffered a serious injury. When you train with light weights you increase muscular endurance which translates to fewer muscular injuries. This is why Physical Therapy revolves around light weights/higher reps. It's about training the muscles for everyday usage and strength.
BOTH are vital to a healthy body. Let's not diss on light weights ppl, they have a place in a well balanced program. I used to lift semi-professionally and lifted hundreds, almost a thousand pounds on my best exercise. Trust you me, light weights have a place in this world. Any doubts, talk to a true professional such as an exercise physiologist or Physical Therapist.
Strength training is all about the quality, not the quantity of exercise.
I agree with doing each rep in a slow controlled manner - this makes your muscles work harder, and although you might be able to do fewer reps, is far more effective strength training.
But the bottom line is that lifting heavy is going to get you the most benefit from your strength training program. Lifting lift gives you very little benefit.
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7/4/10 9:51 P
I highly recommend the book New Rules of Lifting for Women by Lou Schuler. The philosophy makes so much sense to me. Lift heavier weights to see results- and don't be afraid of "bulking up"- this program advises two or three days of lifting a week- there is no way you will look like a man!
It really just depends on your goals. I personally think the best approach is to do a mix between the two, switching every few weeks.
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Fitness Minutes: (7,898)
2,812 7/4/10 4:10 P
I agree with everything ARCHIMEDESII said! I do both as well, alternating every 2-3 months. That way I get good muscle balance with both the fast and slow twitch muscle fibers. It also helps me to not overtrain muscle groups. I find low eight/high reps is good my my joints and increasing my overall stamina whereas Heavy weight increase my strength and muscle mass. It adds to my "power" in life and activity. Both are important to a healthy body.
Women don't get bulky. Some might think they do, but it's water retention and not losing the BULKY FAT over the muscle. In my Sp Photos I have a picture of what 5lbs of fat looks like compared to 5 lbs of muscle. You will see physical proof that it's the fat that makes you puffy, big, and "bulky", not the muscle.
Lighter weights and more reps leads to muscular endurance, not muscular strength. This doesn't make a blind bit of difference to how the muscle looks. So "light weights to tone" is a complete myth.
If you want endurance, do light weights a lot. If you want strength and/or muscle gain (or to minimise muscle loss when losing weight), it has to be heavy weights. Light weights won't do it, even at higher reps.
Deb, in New Zealand
Fitness Minutes: (229,735)
7/4/10 12:51 P
This debate is going to continue on. Here's the dilemma as I see it. First, there is a misconception as to what constitutes a light weight. In Body Pump, which is a popular group circuit training weights class, you use a light, but still challenging weight.
That might be 5 pounds for one person and 8 pounds for another depending on what exercise is being done. Doing continuous repetitions can increase strength, but the purpose is to increase muscular endurance. So, if you take a Body Pump class, you will see an increase in strength, BUT not as much as if you'd use a heavier weight and lower repetitions.
If your goal is to increase your strength, you want to use a heavy weight that fatigues your muscles in roughly 2 sets of 8-12 reps. that's not written in stone. that's a general guideline.
I do both, but honestly, I see more gains in strength when I lift heavy. However, I do happen to enjoy a good Body Pump class. It's a really great workout and a different way to challenge your muscles.
Personally, I think some of the misconception on weight training comes from those weight loss infomercials that swear to women if they use a lighter weight and more reps, they'll look more feminine.
The fact is, most women do not bulk up by lifting a heavy weight. Can a woman get bulky ? yes, but she has to do an awful lot of work to get that way. Women don't pack on muscle the same way men do. We just don't have the testosterone do it. However, we do both benefit from a good weight training program.
Personally and once again, these are my own thoughts, a woman should not be afraid to lift a heavy weight. they will not look like a body builder if they do. Also, it would be great if they could take a class like Pump or even do Jillian's 30 Day Shred. Circuit training workouts like those can also benefit our bodies.
I now do a three day split and it gives me fresh muscle to work on, I advance faster, lift more and don't go from the gym with all the previous aches and pains of circit training..
The key is "eating" enough protein and having talk in the muscle when I return to the gym.. I don't do my best performance on DOM's complaining muscles..
Considering where I have been lifting heavy gives me better results (am wishing for muscle mass not weight loss now).. It helps having muscle in under the excess skin I don't think I look so horrible now when looking in the mirror efter lossing all my weight..
Edited by: RENA1965 at: 7/4/2010 (12:49)
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Fitness Minutes: (101,759)
2,293 7/4/10 11:59 A
I've seen this at the gym. Slow movement engages muscles fully. It's very popular and I'm told it works very well, if you have the patience.
7/4/10 11:53 A
Probably either is ok. I use the fewest reps possible because I have joint issues. Rather than use the heaviest weights I go as SLOWLY as possible on each rep. That way I get really efficient work out with less stress on my joints...but that's probably not everyone's cup of tea, and it does look a bit funny--sort of the Zen of strength training approach.
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Do both. One month trying to build some muscle (heavy weights, lower reps -- to fatigue)...then, one month with some higher reps, lighter weights to tone and even out.
There isn't a right answer. If you are short on gym time, do the higher weights and then do cardio intervals. Varying the workout with heavy weights and the light weights will keep your body 'guessing' which is a good thing.
Fitness Minutes: (101,759)
2,293 7/4/10 11:16 A
Advice please. A debate continues at the gym and at home. Light weights and more reps or heavy weights and less reps? One says to fatigue the muscle with as may reps as possible the other says to fatigue the muscle with a heavier weight less reps until you have to move to an even heavier weight. Maybe both are right. I'd just like to be more productive.
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