5 Advantages of Lifting Lighter Weight

Light weight baby.

You’re a bodybuilder, or something like it. You don’t want to lift light, right? While your initial answer maybe yes, there’s something to be said for the other side. Sure, conventional wisdom tells you lifting heavy weights will recruit more muscle fibers and get you bigger, but what if you told you that lifting lighter weights to failure can produce comparable results in size and strength as well as adding range of motion to your set routine. Still don’t believe us, read on.

More strain on the intended target

Lighter weights means the intended muscles do all the work. When you lift with more weight than you can handle you tend to lose form and use momentum instead of putting the intended strain on the muscle. How many times have you seen guys curling heavy barbells only to turn into a back workout, exactly. Try staying with weight you can actually lift with perfect form.

Hypertrophy

Going back to the first point, when you lift weights suitable for the intended body part, it tends to build more hypotrophy gains in the muscles you want to grow. Hypertrophy is the enlargement of an organ tissue from the increase in size of its cells.

Better Range of motion

Lighter loads allow for the exercise to be performed through the full range of motion. Lifting heavier weights tends to shorten the range of motion, not fully taking advantage of the intended movement. In a study published in the January 2014  issue of Journal of strength and Conditioning Research, it was found that after 12 weeks of strength training with full range of motion, the strength and size of their muscles were greater than those observed in the group that used movements with a shorter range of motion.

Growth

In a game changing study published by the Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers at McMaster University found that effort, not load, increases muscle growth. This means dispels the previous myth that hypotrophy only occurs with heavyweights. Subjects that lifted lighter weight until failure gained just as much size and strength as the subjects who pushed big weight.

The study also found testosterone and growth hormones elevated just as much in subjects that lifted lower weight to failure as those that hoisted bigger weight with less reps.

In short, both lightweight and heavyweight can beneficial in size and strength, it just depends how you use them. We’re not saying you can’t max out on a set with less than ideal form, just don’t think it’s the only way to achieve your goals. Use lighter weights on days your feeling sluggish or to top off your daily routine and you’ll be surprised at the results.

Hit us up in the comments section below and let us know what you think about light weight routines. Do they have their place in bodybuilding or is it no guts no glory?

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44 COMMENTS

  1. If you are on gear lower weight for higher reps works….however natural and beginners should lift heavy to stimulate the muscle building system as much as possible. Don’t look at how pros lift now, look at how they lifted starting out…… end of story

    • Actually you need both… but if you are constantly falling under 6 reps it’s too heavy. Lifting is about mind muscle connection and approach inside the gym. Weight is the least important

    • Gear or not, light weight high reps with control wins for volume building. It’s an art form. You use the heavy weight to gain on the muscle fibers and you use the light weight to “finesse” build.

    • if you don’t have a mind muscle connection the heaviest lifting in the world won’t help you build muscle. You need both but the heavy lifting itself won’t make you build muscles, even for natural lifter light to moderate weight (high repetitions) is more beneficial for hypertrophy than simply jerking the heavy weight!

    • I’ve always had a preference for constant variety. Just seems more efficient to be well rounded in multiple forms of lifting not only for personal benafit but also to keep the body from growing to comfortable with the tasks presented to it. Don’t get me wrong I’m no expert but it’s made me happier. When I lifted heavy all the time my strength was good but my endurance slowed down and my results came to a hault. When I lifted light all the time my endurance was good but my high output went down and my body softened up although I did get the growth at a better rate. When I lifted slow I became slow. When I lifted with quick bursts of power I became more explosive. These reasons are why I personally believe it’s better to cover all aspects of physical effectiveness rather than one sole style unless you have one specific physical need for a specific sport or physical job you have to be functional for. But like I said I’m just a nobody who loves to lift

  2. Light weight forms the muscle and adds size giving it the look/pop. Heavy weight just stacks on mass and if you never lift light weight with control you’ll just be a sloppy blob of mass. Now if you combine the two you have the ultimate physique just as you watch every good pro starts light controlled then gets Heavy! It’s simple you really need both to be the ultimate body builder.

    • You better learn the mind muscle connection to build the muscle or go home. Powerlifters and Oly lifters lift heavy and in fact they don’t have the muscles of a bodybuilder. The bodybuilding is an art for the few selected, all the rest is a typical gym rat jerking some heavy weight without knowing what he is exactly doing

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