This article is especially good news for people who risk injury using heavy weights—newbies, older exercisers, and folks doing rehab.
New research shows you’ll get as good or (yes!) better results repeatedly lifting a light weight until you can’t do any more as you will straining to do eight reps with a weight you can barely budge. So unless you’re planning on posing for Flex, go for what trainers call “low-load, high-volume resistance exercise.”
I LOVE “low-load, high-volume resistance exercise”. It is exactly what I did at the GYM this morning.
How light is “low-load”? Pretty light. About 30 per cent of the heaviest weight you can lift.
So if 10-pound dumbbells are your max, drop to three-pounders.
Alternatively; light means a weight that lets you do at least 24 reps before your muscles yell ‘uncle.’ Researchers figured this out by somehow persuading a group of Very Nice Men to let them remove tissue samples from their muscles after working out.
Turns out, the light lifters had gained as many or more muscle proteins than the heavy lifters—muscle proteins, not grunting, being how you measure the effects of resistance work.
Conclusion, said the researchers: It’s not how heavy the weight is, it’s how tired you make your muscles.