Important Reasons You Need to Lift Heavy

bench press

Heavy, heavier, heaviest.

A lot of health and fitness experts out there will advocate training with higher reps and less weight as a method to shred your physique into that of a Grecian statue. You see a lot of lifters today who focus on “optimal movements” that isolate certain muscle groups. They claim that by lifting lighter weight and performing higher reps you’ll get some amazing results, putting on serious amounts of muscle mass that will ultimately end with you looking ripped and defined like a superhero. However, lifting heavy is something that you need to be doing.

It may sound like the opposite of what a lot of “influencers” say, but that is because it is. Let’s take a look at why you should be lifting heavy!

Main Takeaways of Lifting Heavy

  • Strength
  • Dense muscle mass
  • Stronger joints and ligaments

Why You Should be Lifting Heavy

lift heavy

Well, for those who have been following that school of thought of influencers, you’re likely to be disappointed at the end of your journey to getting jacked and shredded. Instead of looking like the massive beast that you’ve seen in your favorite comic book, it’s more than likely that you’re going to look skinnier than you want, as if it is your first day being in the gym. Sure, you’ll be burning a ton of calories, but the reason why you won’t see much results after all the hours of pumping out 5 sets of 20 reps each is for one major reason: because you’re going to be burning muscle as well as fat.

That being said, you need to be building the foundation. If you look at old school bodybuilders like 7x Mr. Olympia champion Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as other bodybuilders like Mike Mentzer, those guys lifted extremely heavy. They also did not exclude compound lifts from their training routines, which is a common theme amongst many modern day gym crowds. Modern day influencers will switch out the heavy compounds like the bench press, the squat, and deadlifts, and instead do isolation movements to “fine tune” their muscles.

The problem is that you cannot define muscles that are not there, and heavy compound lifts are what truly build muscle mass and strength. Take a look at Mike O’Hearn, who is a big fan of the “powerbuilding” approach, meaning his training style includes heavy compounds (like a powerlifter) then other accessory movements aimed at hypertrophy (like a bodybuilder). This is also how the old school bodybuilders trained, and they looked phenomenal. Ronnie Coleman was also a powerlifter before he was a bodybuilder, and he had built up some dense muscle mass, then fine tuned it with accessories.

Strengthening the Joints

Training with heavy compounds also helps to build strength in the ligaments and joints, enabling you to lift heavier, with more intensity, higher volume, and in turn build more muscle and strength. In today’s day and age, you see younger lifters completely relying on different gym equipment like knee sleeves and elbow sleeves to complete their lifts. While using these types of equipment can be beneficial for hitting those heavy lifts, it can also be detrimental.

Nick Walker has pointed it out, but continuing to utilize and rely on equipment like knee sleeves and wraps can make your body used to them. That means that your joints and ligaments will, in theory, not develop as fast as they should, and when you try to lift raw, you are at a higher risk for injury. That being said, training heavy, without lifting gear is ideal.

Do High Reps Help?

Sure, high reps have their benefits, but the best way to get the results you seek is by doing some serious, heavy lifting. Chris Bumstead actually said it to David Laid in a recent video, that you need to be going relatively close to failure. The bottom line is if you’re not being challenged then what’s the point of the whole exercise in the first place. You want to feel a sense of accomplishment after every training session in the gym. In order to feel that then you better start lifting heavy.

Where to Find Programs to Lift Heavy

Now, finding programs to lift heavy but also build serious muscle mass is ideal. The issue is that too many times the programs you find on the internet will be cookie cutter programs, that really don’t guide you in the right direction at all. That being said, where should you look to find new programs?

Boostcamp App

Boostcamp is a freemium app with over 50 free programs from renowned coaches for bodybuilding and strength training, or you can create your own.

When it comes to finding programs to help you with lifting heavy, look no further than Boostcamp. The Boostcamp App is a freemium workout app that allows for you to choose from well over 50 free workout programs to help with your progress in the gym, all written by renowned coaches such as Alex Bromley and Hadyn Wiseman to name a few. There are plenty of programs to choose from, no matter your skill set, as Boostcamp allows you to choose from Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert programs, so you can continue to push yourself and really progress as a powerlifter. 

If you don’t want to follow a pre-written program that is also okay, as the Boostcamp also allows you to create your own workout plans and track your progress, so you know exactly where you were, where you are, and where you should be by the end of each program. 


  • Great selection of programs
  • Programs are written by renowned coaches
  • Freedom to create your own program


  • Tracking your workouts requires an upgrade

Check out full individual review of Boostcamp!

Lifting Heavy Wrap Up

heavy lifting

All of that being said, it is pretty clear that heavy lifting is essential to make some serious progress in the gym. Yes, using lighter, isolation exercises to fine tune the muscles is definitely something that you need to do, but you cannot fine tune them if they are not there. That being said, you need to lift heavy to build that serious muscle mass.

How heavy do you lift in the gym? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook and Twitter.

Dylan Wolf
I work mainly in content writing, focusing my free time on bodybuilding and strength sports. I was introduced to fitness in high school and after watching Generation Iron movies. I love to train. I have competed multiple times, even winning a junior title in classic physique. I have a bachelor's in criminal justice and business obtained through Alvernia University. When I am not focused on work or training, I enjoy watching films or reading about anything and everything.