5 Advantages of Lifting Lighter Weight For Max Gains

weightlifting gloves

Light weight baby!

You’re a bodybuilder, or something like it. You don’t want to lift light, right? While your initial answer may be 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 we 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?

We all love to lift massive weights. We look cool in the gym, make those other bodybuilders and fitness folks envy us for our ability to pick up heavy things and put them down. But why put your body through consistent heavy lifting if you don’t have to? You already push yourself enough and having the ability to step back and put down some of those heavier weights will prove to pay off in the long run. You just have to be willing to drop your ego and allow yourself to lift lighter weight.

Let’s take a look at 5 advantages to lifting lighter weight so you see what this can do for your gains. By allowing yourself to lift lighter, you set yourself up for better success and won’t feel the constant strain and tension that heavy lifting can cause.

lighter weight

5 Advantages Of Lifting Lighter Weight

Knowing the advantages of lifting lighter weight can greatly help you see serious growth despite the lack of heaviness. With the right approach and the ability to push yourself to fatigue with light weight, you will see those changes you want most without needing to constantly lift heavier and heavier weight.

1. 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? Try staying with weight you can actually lift with perfect form.

This is will also work to reduce any unwanted injury that can keep you out of the gym. That constant strain is something you just don’t want or need and will ultimately prove detrimental to your physical health in the long run. Try lighter weight and keep your focus on that singular target without turning one muscle group’s exercise into another. That unwanted soreness you feel will start to subside and you will better tackle all of those strength goals.

2. Hypertrophy

Going back to the first point, when you lift weights suitable for the intended body part, it tends to build more hypertrophy gains in the muscles you want to grow. Hypertrophy is the enlargement of an organ tissue from the increase in size of its cells. By focusing on that muscle and not turning your attention elsewhere, you work to really build more size and that increased growth becomes something to envy. The end goal is to see hypertrophy take place, right? So, put more of an emphasis on this (1).

3. 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. By trying to force yourself to lift heavier weights, you don’t allow yourself to capitalize on the gains you could have if you lifted lighter.

Range of motion is important as this allows the muscle to get as much work done so you see the best gains. But what is a gains killer is when you cheat this just to “lift” that weight. It may seem like you’re lifting, but if you aren’t getting the full range of motion, are you actually? Probably not. Placing a focus on optimizing your full range of motion will be exactly what you need to see the best gains while working to better tackle any and all of those goals (2).

incline hammer curls

4. Growth

A common misconception for a longtime is that light weight cannot build muscle or boost muscle growth. But that is simply not true. Think about bodyweight exercises and their ability to improve muscle (3). People who lift lighter weight until fatigue will, in the long run, see gains to strength and size and that increased muscle growth they want most. Growth is the goal, and having those bigger, stronger muscles are what we need to see our physiques takes shape.

While lifting heavier weight will build muscle growth, when done correctly, why put yourself through the constant wear and tear when you don’t have to? It isn’t taking the easier way out, just the smarter.

5. Mind-Muscle Connection

Mind-muscle connection is important for this allows us to build a relationship between our brain and our bodies. Working together with this only enhances growth, for your muscles will respond better to all of those exercises. Lighter weight allows you get the most of your range of motion and instill that movement into your memory, so it becomes second nature. With this connection, other lifts become easier and you are better able to tackle those lifting goals (4).

Resistance bands are great for building mind-muscle connection for they add time under tension without being heavy. Light weights do a similar thing and can be very helpful in the long run.

Wrap Up

In short, both lightweight and heavyweight can be 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 you’re 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?

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Krzysztofik, M.; et al. (2019). “Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review of Advanced Resistance Training Techniques and Methods”. (source)
  2. Schoenfeld, B.; et al. (2020). “Effects of range of motion on muscle development during resistance training interventions: A systematic review”. (source)
  3. Harrison, J. (2010). “Bodyweight Training: A Return To Basics”. (source)
  4. Calatayud, J.; et al. (2017). “Mind-muscle connection training principle: influence of muscle strength and training experience during a pushing movement”. (source)
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