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Work your muscles to the point of fatigue with light weights and many reps -- build muscles: study

Thursday, January 03, 2013

A new study finds that light weights work "just as well" as heavy weights, as long as you still push your muscles to the point of fatigue.

If you want to lose weight, build strength, and boost your metabolism, experts advise that pumping iron is your best bet. But if the idea of heavy lifting -- with all that grunting -- intimidates you, a new study reveals that lighter weights and more repetitions are equally effective, as long as you work your muscles to the point of fatigue.

"We found that loads that were quite heavy and comparatively light were equally effective at inducing muscle growth and promoting strength," says researcher Cameron Mitchell at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in a statement released Monday.

According to the release, the study "challenges the widely accepted dogma" that to achieve optimal muscle growth, you'll need to lift heavy weights, with repetitions anywhere from six to 12 times before fatigue. Of course, the downside of lifting lighter weights is that you'll need to perform about twice as many reps to achieve the same effect.

To reach their findings, researchers conducted a series of tests on healthy, young male subjects to measure how their leg muscles reacted to different forms of resistance training. The subjects worked out over a period of 10 weeks, three times a week.

For the group lifting heavy weights, subjects performed three sets of eight to 12 repetitions; for the group lifting lighter weights, they performed three sets of 25 to 30 repetitions. After 10 weeks: "BOTH HEAVY AND LIGHT GROUPS SAW SIGNIFICANT GAINS IN MUSCLE VOLUME -- AS MEASURED BY MRI -- "WITH NO DIFFERENCE AMONG THE GROUPS!"... stated the release.

The findings could be particularly encouraging to older adults with joint problems, who want the benefits of weight training but without the risks of overdoing it. "This study shows that they have the option of training with lighter and less intimidating loads and can still receive the benefits," adds Mitchell. Recent research also reveals that seniors over 60 need to lift weights more often than young people to maintain their muscle mass.

The study is published online in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Read more:

Home workouts that follow this technique include:

- Jari Love Ripped series

- Les Mills Body Pump

- Cathe Friedrich's:
STS Mesocycle Endurance workout:

Power Hour:

... just to name a few. I am getting closer to having "Les Mills Body Pump" in my life!!!! ~ Dee emoticon

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
MRS_TOAD 1/6/2013 8:09AM

    Thanks for the info. This is great news for me. Light weights work so much better for me.

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    Good news for me as my doctor does not want me using heavy weights.

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BMCOLLEY 1/4/2013 7:30AM

    Thanks for sharing this. Most of us suffer from the misconception that you cannot get the same workout you get with heavy weights when you are using light weight.

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MONA_MONA 1/3/2013 10:25PM

    I love lifting weights regardless of whether it's light or heavy weight. emoticon Thanks for sharing!

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_LINDA 1/3/2013 8:36PM

    I actually first heard this from my orthopedic surgeon when I was whining at the weight restriction of 5 lbs for my artificial elbows not being enough to allow me to adequately strength train. He told me many reps at the lighter weight is just as effective. I do have two of the Jari 'ripped' series and when I do one my muscles are aching for a couple of days :P So yes, I am a believer now :)

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TRAINER_T 1/3/2013 5:14PM

    emoticon No matter what everyone should be doing weight training as muscle burns more fat then fat!

Great post, thanks :-)

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MARTY728 1/3/2013 4:14PM


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DS9KIE 1/3/2013 2:28PM

    that is great info...and now there is no excuses.

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