Have you ever looked at pictures of people with sculpted muscular bodies and then been tempted to head to the gym and try to bulk up yourself? Once you do get yourself to the gym and look around, you can you see all those super-motivated bodybuilders trying to build muscle up with frighteningly heavy weights. Certainly, the kinds of weights that the seriously musclebound play with are not for the faint of heart. But do you really need to shred yourself like that to be able to build muscle?
A piece of standard gym wisdom that you get to hear anywhere where there are hopeful body builders is that to put on muscle at a reasonable pace, you do need to lift terribly heavy weights even if you aren’t able to do that many repetitions. It’s the opinion that fitness trainers like to give their charges too. If you have always found it hard to believe completely in this claim, Heavy News you aren’t alone. Recent research at the McMaster University backs up a different bodybuilding philosophy. They find that you can work out with no more than a third of what your capacity is and still build muscle up. As long as the weights you are lifting aren’t too light and as long as you are willing to cycle through a good many number of repetitions, you still have hope. They find that it isn’t so much the magnitude of what you lift as it is how long you keep your muscles stressed lifting it up. If you can work out with weights every day until you are exhausted, even if it is with lower levels of poundage, you still have hopes of rivaling those people with the rippling muscles that you are so envious of.
To anyone who wishes to come by a chiseled and bulging body but who finds that they are quite prone to muscular injury with the really heavy weights, this can be truly encouraging news. It is also great news for people who want a great body but suffer from medical conditions such as hypertension that keep them from following the conventional wisdom. Certainly, conventional wisdom can’t really be thrown away on the strength of one lone study. But these are encouraging results – that all you need to do to build muscle up is to exhaust your muscles with repetitive workouts.
There is one thing we know about working out with small weights and keeping it up to the point of exhaustion – even seasoned bodybuilders who slay themselves with very large weights do have to do this from time to time. An important part of building muscle up has to do with not letting your muscles get used to any one kind of activity – you need to mix it up to keep your muscles on their toes. Of course the rule that you only need to lift a third of what you’re able to isn’t a hard and fast one. It depends on the person. To some, two-thirds of their capacity may be what does it. Some followers of the extreme weightlifting mantra like to throw in a week of light lifting once a month just to shock their system into growing.
In the end, you do know that lifting very high weights is a good way of packing on the muscles. But if there is a reason why you feel this isn’t good for you – a medical condition perhaps – going with lighter weights is well worth a try.