Snazzy title huh? Well its true, there are epic myths surrounding how much weight to lift while strength training. The most prevalent fitness myth mindset is people lifting very light weight so they don’t “bulk up.” With that mindset, you may not bulk up but you won’t tone up either!
There is a small amount of people that when they lift weights, they have a natural predisposition to gain muscle and “bulk” rapidly and easily but for the majority of people, that is just not the case.
In the world of athletics, gaining muscle is often times more difficult than losing weight. That is even more true in the bodybuilding world where gaining and maintaining muscle mass is a very difficult task.
For the general public, the key to gaining a streamlined, physique is often dependent on your form, technique and mindset. For guys, you need to throw out your ego, lower the weight on some of your lifts so that you can actually perform quality repetitions. This will help you garner more muscle mass than doing two reps with the most weight you can stack on and screaming your way to no result other than people looking at you like you’re stupid. Yes, you know what I’m talking about huh?…there is always “that guy” in the gym huffing, puffing and yelling yet he never looks any better…
For women, the mindset needs to change as well. Many women are so afraid of “bulking up” that they end up getting nothing out of their lifting sessions because the weight they use is “too light.” In order to attain a streamlined physique, you must still push your muscles to fatigue and sometimes failure.
The key to success is picking a high number of reps then choosing the heaviest weight possible for that rep range, then attacking the weight! For example, if you want to perform arm curls for 20 repetitions, you should pick a weight that you know you probably won’t get all 20 repetitions but rather start struggling with between reps 12-15. If you don’t get all 20, keep fighting each week until you do. Once you can perform 20 reps easily, you can then move the weight up a little and present yourself with yet another challenge. If you can lift weights and still talk to your friends about your favorite tv show, its probably too light! Lifting heavier weight for more repetitions will produce a sculpted look and help you add moderate amounts of sightly, lean muscle mass.
Choose a weight that allows you to perform each rep in a slow, controlled fashion and throughout each muscle’s full range of motion. This will create a great burn and level of fatigue due to great technique, not massive amounts of weight.
I have dropped the amount of poundage I use, put laser focus on strict form and have gained 3 extra pounds of muscle mass….all without screaming, yelling and banging weights around! If it is possible for me, it can be possible for you!
Focus on finding what I call “Sweet Spot” amounts of weight, meaning those that allow you to perform strict form yet challenge you on every repetition. Seek help from your local fitness pro if you need help on how to choose correct amounts of weights and exercises that will help you reach your goals. Go Getem!