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Old 04-30-2012, 01:30 PM
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Default Light weights are just as good for building muscle, getting stronger

I wonder if the TV remote counts as a light weight.


Lifting less weight more times is just as effective at building muscle as training with heavy weights, a finding by McMaster researchers that turns conventional wisdom on its head.

The key to muscle gain, say the researchers, is working 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 Cam Mitchell, one of the lead authors of the study and a PhD candidate in the Department of Kinesiology.

The research, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, challenges the widely accepted dogma that training with heavy weights�which can be lifted only six to 12 times before fatigue�is the best avenue to muscle growth.

"Many older adults can have joint problems which would prevent them training with heavy loads," says Mitchell. "This study shows that they have the option of training with lighter and less intimidating loads and can still receive the benefits."

For the study, a series of experiments were conducted on healthy, young male volunteers to measure how their leg muscles reacted to different forms of resistance training over a period of 10 weeks.

The researchers first determined the maximum weight each subject could lift one time in a knee extension. Each subject was assigned to a different training program for each leg.

In all, three different programs were used in combinations that required the volunteers to complete sets of as many repetitions as possible with their assigned loads � typically eight to 12 times per set at the heaviest weights and 25-30 times at the lowest weights.

The three programs used in the combinations were:
  • one set at 80% of the maximum load
  • three sets at 80% of the maximum
  • three sets at 30% of the maximum
After 10 weeks of training, three times per week, the heavy and light groups that lifted three sets saw significant gains in muscle volume�as measured by MRI�with no difference among the groups. Still, the group that used heavier weights for three sets developed a bit more strength.
The group that trained for a single set showed approximately half the increase in muscle size seen in both the heavy and light groups.

"The complexity of current resistance training guidelines may deter some people from resistance training and therefore from receiving the associated health benefits," says Stuart Phillips, a professor in the Department of Kinesiology and supervisor of the study. "Our study provides evidence for a simpler paradigm, where a much broader range of loads including quite light loads can induce muscle growth, provided it is lifted to the point where it is difficult to maintain good form."

McMaster University, one of four Canadian universities listed among the Top 100 universities in the world, is renowned for its innovation in both learning and discovery. It has a student population of 23,000, and more than 156,000 alumni in 140 countries.
- Jim

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.� Sir Winston Churchill
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:03 PM
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I so strongly agree with this "working to the point of fatigue". It doesn't matter if it's 4 times or 20 times, just make sure you are pushing the last number to fatigue.
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:23 PM
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If that study was true, there would be lots of people in the gym that lifted light and looked like Ah-nold, but there's not.

Lift light with lots of reps and your muscles will be filled with lactic acid before you've fatigued muscle fiber.

Seriously guys, if it sounds too good to be true, it is. But if one of you can win Mr Olympia doing this, I'll eat my hat.
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Old 08-12-2012, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by jfh View Post
I wonder if the TV remote counts as a light weight.

hahahahaha ooh jfh!

Why would anyone want to spend all that time doing all those reps when you can get better results with heavier weights, less reps.
I'd guess more people would end up speeding through it just to get 'er done rather than concentrating on proper form then~
My recovery time seems longer than most so I only have to work each muscle group once a week, which spells out to strength training 3x a week for about 45mins or so. And every few months, I take a week or two off & change the exercises for each group.
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Old 08-12-2012, 10:46 AM
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Light weights, 1 to 2 pounds has proven to increase bone density in wheel chair patients.
"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth." Marcus Aurelius
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