The Five Reasons to Use Lighter Weights

Learn the reasons you should probably go a little lighter on those weights

The Five Reasons to Use Lighter Weights

Many people go to the gym and think that the goal is to lift the heaviest weight they possibly can, regardless of what it takes, what it does to their body, and even how it looks to others watching.  The reality is that lifting heavy gives the exact opposite result than what you are looking for. There are five important things to consider before going to the gym and stacking up those plates. For these five reasons, please use lighter weights.

Reason #1:  You look ridiculous.

You may be under the false assumption that lifting those big, heavy weights makes you look tough.  Instead, when you have poor form, contort your face and every other part of your body in order to lift those weights, you look quite silly.  Lifting heavy weights without keeping proper form is giving you the opposite of the result you are looking for.

Reason #2:  You have hurt yourself before doing this and you will do it again.

Lifting heavy not only makes you look silly, but it is also guaranteed to cause injuries.  When one lifts weights that are heavier than the muscles can handle, the body has no choice but to recruit additional muscle groups from other parts of the body, using them in whatever way possible in order to lift that weight.  Unfortunately, this typically results in minor and even major injuries, including but not limited to stretches, tears, hernias, and even breaks.  Of course, not only are injuries painful and bad for your health, but they also keep you out of the gym, meaning that you are further from the goal than if you had just lifted weights that are within your range.

Reason #3:  Isolation matters.

Most people who use weights that are heavier than they can comfortably handle typically divide the work done amongst multiple muscle groups.  What this does is it actually lowers the overall weight capacity by the muscle you are attempting to isolate.  In many cases, you can increase the pressure on a specific muscle, such as the chest, by decreasing the weight by 25%.  While this may seem counterintuitive, decreasing the weight by this amount means that your body no longer has to struggle and it no longer recruits your shoulder muscles and other muscle groups that would otherwise be doing more than half of the work.

Reason #4:  You are lifting less total weight by the time you leave the gym.

When you push yourself too much and attempt to lift weights that are simply too heavy for you, you are going to fatigue more easily and you are undoubtedly going to do fewer repetitions.  This means that by the time you leave the gym after your workout, even though you were lifting heavier weights, you have actually lifted less total weight, which means you have had less of an overall workout.  This is not to say that you should lift extremely light weights.  The point is to push your muscles to their limit without going over the amount that a certain muscle group can handle in isolation.

Reason #5:  You will never learn proper form using extremely heavy weights.

By using heavy weights, you make it almost impossible for your body and mind to learn to move in a manner that produces the most force with the least effort and you will not develop that critical muscle-mind connection.  Therefore, not only does it look ridiculous, but it also means that you are not getting as strong as you could otherwise get.

There is no question that in order to grow muscles, you must push them, and this requires lifting weight that is heavy.  However, the heaviest weight you lift should be one that the specific muscle group that you are exercising can handle in isolation.  If you have to change your form, contort your body, and struggle to lift the weight, you are getting yourself the opposite result.  Focus on having very good form and don’t be afraid of going heavy as long as the heaviest weight you lift is one that you can handle in isolation.

By Arman Sadeghi

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