Friday, August 13, 2010

Break The Mold Friday

I found an article today that was very intriguing to me as I have met many people in my life who didn't go to the gym because they didn't want to "bulk up".  I'll grant you, a lot of these people were women and as a huge fan of the fairer sex, I realize that you don't want to have big shoulders and rippling biceps.  I sure don't want your arms to be bigger than mine!

When ladies go to the gym, they often hit the treadmills, ellipticals, and do yoga or aerobics to lose weight or increase their stamina and often times to burn off steam with friends.  I have heard stories from men and women alike who hate weight lifting because....."Darn it, those things are heavy!"  People mistakenly believe that if you walk in the door of the gym, you have to grab the heaviest weight in the room for your workout.

This article touches on something that I have known for a long time but it is often ignored by the public because it doesn't fit the "mold" of, "If you want to build muscle you must lift heavy weight for a minimum of reps." (3-5 times)  What if you could build the muscle by using the opposite thought pattern?  Lift a light weight for a high number of reps (20-24 times)  Would you do it?  What if you could tone your body (ladies) or build bigger arms (guys) without the risk of injury to your back, legs, shoulders and more? 

Read this article from WebMD................

Want to Build Muscle? Light Weights Will Do

Straining to Lift Heavy Weights Isn't Necessary to Put on Muscle, Researchers Say

By Bill Hendrick
WebMD Health News                                                                            Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Aug. 13, 2010 -- Building muscle doesn’t require a lot of heavy lifting, just a lot of light weight lifting, a new study indicates.

Straining to lift very heavy weights isn’t the only way to pump up muscles, say researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Similar results can be achieved, they say, by lifting light weights a greater number of times.

The secret is simply to pump iron until muscle fatigue sets in, says Stuart Phillips, PhD, associate professor of kinesiology at McMaster.

“Rather than grunting and straining to lift heavy weights, you can grab something much lighter but you have to lift it until you can’t lift it any more,” Phillips says in a news release.

The Study Method

Researchers recruited 15 healthy men with an average age of 21. Each was told to lift light weights and heavy weights with varying repetitions.

The weights represented a percentage of their best or heaviest lift. Heavier weights were set to 90% of a man’s best lift, and light weights at 30%.

Phillips says weights set to 80% to 90% of a person’s best lift required five to 10 repetitions before fatigue set in. At 30%, it took at least 24 lifts before similar fatigue developed.

The researchers measured fatigue at the cellular level by examining results of muscle biopsies done 4 hours and 24 hours after workouts.

Similar amounts of protein used in muscle building were produced whether volunteers lifted at 90% of their maximums until they ran out of steam and when they lifted only 30% of their best until they could lift no more, the researchers say.

Straining Not Necessary

In short, the authors say, similar muscle mass can be built by using light weights as with heavier ones.

“We’re convinced that growing muscle means stimulating your muscle to make new muscle proteins, a process in the body that over time accumulates into bigger muscles,” Phillips says. “We’re excited to see where this new paradigm will lead.”

What It Means

The research has practical significance, and not just for body builders, because building muscle is important for people with compromised skeletal muscle mass, such as the elderly, cancer patients, or people recovering from trauma, surgery, or even stroke, the researchers conclude.

They didn’t measure actual muscle growth, relying instead for their conclusions on the cellular markers.

But the findings are nevertheless promising and need to be replicated in future research, the authors write.

Nicholas Burd, a PhD student and author of the study, and his colleagues, write that a “high-volume low-load resistance exercise” program may help reduce loss of muscle tissue that occurs as part of the natural aging process.

Lifting Lighter Weights Is Safer

At the same time, lifting lighter weights many times may reduce soft tissue and orthopaedic injury, the study says.

The findings suggest that low-load lifts performed with numerous repetitions or high-load muscle-stretching efforts “will result in similar training-induced” muscle growth, “or even superior gains,” the authors write.

The study is published in the journal PLoS One.
Another subject I will touch on next week is using simple body weight excercises with light cardio to get you in the best shape of your life.  What are your gym stories??  Do you have a membership?  To go or not to go?


Debbi Does Dinner Healthy said...

Excellent tips on weight lifting!! I life 30 lb. 2 year old twins everyday, does that count?? :-)

J L Health 918-836-0565 said...

You bet it does Debbi. You've got a dedicated workout everyday!! Thanks for the comment!