Lighter Weights...More Muscle? The Truth Is Out
A recent study shows that lifting lighter weight may provide even better gains in muscle mass as using heavy weights according to researchers at Canada's McMaster University. The study concluded that "These results suggest that low-load high volume resistance exercise is more effective in inducing acute muscle anabolism than high-load low volume or work matched resistance exercise modes."
The study used 15 healthy men at an average age of 21 years old. The subjects had to lift light weights (30% of max lift) and heavy weights (90% of max lift) for repetitions. On average, participants were able to lift the light weight for at least 24 reps before they felt fatigue. When it comes to the heavier weight, participants did between 5-10 reps before fatigue set in.
Study researcher Stuart Phillips, associate professor of kinesiology at McMaster University said, "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 anymore. 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."
However, research has shown that heavier weights may still provide a higher endorphin boost.
The findings are published online in the journal Public Library of Science (PLoS):
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