Lifting lighter weights ,which is a proven method for getting in shape, offers many benefits to fitness enthusiasts. In comparison to heavy lifting, light training is overlooked and seen as an unlikely alternative to getting fit.
Why You Should Start Lifting Lighter Weights
Heavy weights is a numbers game
I’ve made the mistake of falling into the fitness trap.
This is the trap where your only concern is to out-lift your previous record.
Don’t get me wrong. Setting goals designed at improving your lifts are great.
But at some point, it becomes a numbers game.
My strongest lift ever was a single rep 505 lbs deadlift
Admittedly, my form was off, but I did it. I was proud of my achievement as my peers watched in admiration.
At peak physical fitness, I was squatting 495 lbs. I’d be ballsy and do 4 reps at 395 lbs way past parallel – a respectable weight-load for a natural bodybuilder.
At some point you hit the wall and enter the territory of diminishing returns. This happens when the risks greatly exceeds the benefits.
Famed bodybuilder, Shawn Ray maintained an injury-free bodybuilding career by sticking to light weights and strict form. In retrospect, I didn’t see the point in out-performing myself and running the risk of blowing out my knees and lower back.
So why do I advocate lifting lighter weights?
Keep on reading….
Lifting lighter weights isn’t only for beginners (Reason #1)
Beginners should learn to lift lighter weights at the start of their weight lifting journey. Learning proper form at an early age greatly reduces the likelihood of injury.
The mind-muscle connection, which is a technique designed to enhance muscle fiber contractions through deep concentration, is crucial for beginners. In the end, greater gains are made when practicing years of solid lifting technique and engaging the mind-muscle connection.
Lifting lighter weights reduces overtraining (Reason #2)
Overtraining, which I cover briefly in this post, is the number one reason many fail to improve their physiques.
Above all, lifting lighter weights needs to be an integral part of your workout program.
By cycling between heavy workout phases and lighter cycles, you give your body the opportunity of making incredible gains at an astonishing rate. You also give your body much needed rest from lifting heavy. Your joints and ligaments, which are under constant stress, can effectively recover. You can expect an increase in overall body strength once you transition to heavy weight lifting.
Lifting lighters weights improves the development of ancillary muscles (Reason #3)
As weight lifters our focus is always on the showcase muscles. Who doesn’t like walking around with a pumped up chest and bulging biceps? But what about smaller muscles? The muscles we often ignore in favour of the attention grabbers.
Below, I outline exercises that target smaller muscle bellies
- Rear delt dumbbell raises
- Wrist Curls
- Overhead Tricep Extensions
These exercises target muscles we often ignore. Your rear deltoid will never get as much attention as your chest, but when sufficiently developed it will add dimension and thickness to your frame.
If you suffer from thinner forearms, a steady dose of barbell wrist curls will have them bulging from your t-shirt.
Overhead dumbbells tricep extensions work wonders on your triceps. Lastly, it’s always great to switch things up by incorporating new exercises to the mix.
Remember that lifting lighter weights shouldn’t be a numbers game. If you’re heading to the gym anytime soon, leave your ego at the door and pick up the smaller weights. Focus on flawless execution and really hone in on the mind-muscle connection. You’d be surprised just how satisfying light workouts can be.