Updated: Nov 19, 2020
Here's some basic reasons why you should lift heavy weight and why I push this point:
1. Lifting heavy causes muscles to grow. For sure! Heavy resistance can recruit and engage more of the type II muscle fibers responsible for generating muscle force. When you lift a heavy weight, you may feel your muscles shaking. This is because your nervous system is working to engage more motor units and muscle fibers to produce the force required to move a weight. Type II muscle fibers are generally responsible for the size and definition of a muscle, so activating more of these fibers can lead help provide immediate results.
2. Lifting heavy improves intramuscular coordination (the firing pattern of fibers within an individual muscle), which is important for improving overall strength. Intramuscular coordination is the ability of a number of different sections of muscle to work together to produce a movement. Intramuscular coordination is the ability of the fibers that comprise a particular muscle to work together to generate a force. Because it requires more force to contract a muscle, using a heavy resistance can improve the intramuscular coordination in a specific section of muscle, which will also help you become more efficient at generating strength.
3. By lifting heavy, muscles get stronger without getting bigger. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy describes how the sarcoplasm of a muscle increases in size as a result of lifting weights at a moderate to high intensity for a higher number of repetitions (e.g., 10 to 15). Myofibrillar hypertrophy describes how muscle fibers become thicker and denser in response to strength training. Using heavy weights focuses on myofibrillar hypertrophy, resulting in muscle that is thicker and stronger, but not necessarily larger. When lifting an optimal amount of heavy resistance, you should only be able to perform five or fewer repetitions while maintaining good form.
4. Lifting heavy weights can help reduce your biological age. If you’re over the age of 35, you should definitely be using heavy resistance two to four times a week for periods of four to eight weeks at a time. When adult males hit their mid-30s, they will naturally produce less testosterone unless there is a stimulus that causes the body to produce it. Testosterone is a steroid hormone and is responsible for repairing damaged muscle fibers, which can increase the size and strength output of a muscle. Heavy resistance training is one type of stimulus that can cause males to produce testosterone and help increase bone density, both of which are important markers of biological age. Heavy resistance training can also help women over the age of 35 increase their levels of growth hormone, which is important for developing lean muscle and burning fat.
5. Lifting heavy can help increase your resting metabolism.One pound of skeletal muscle expends approximately 5 to 7 calories a day at rest. Adding 5 to 7 pounds of muscle can increase your resting metabolism (how efficiently your body produces and uses energy) up to 50 calories a day. This might not sound like a lot, but over the course of a year that is a difference of approximately two-thirds of a pound of fat that you can burn while doing absolutely nothing.
6. Lifting heavy stuff makes you look really cool. 😎 Which gives you bragging rights among your friends. The downside is that you will have more requests to help friends or family move furniture, but that’s just the price you have to pay for being ridiculously strong
Bam!! See you in the gym! 💪🏻🙌🏻-Coach Kellie