When it comes to weight training, the conventional wisdom is that, if you want to grow big, then you must lift big. But light weight workouts can also help you build muscle and strength. Studies published in a recent analysis of 13 studies published in Sports Medicine found that when people train with weights that are less than 60 percent of their one rep maximum, they can make gains equivalent to their heavy lifting counterparts.
The explanation for these surprising findings is not clear and even has fitness professionals baffled. What is not disputed though is that even if you can lift heavy weights, you should lift lighter weights once in a while to maximize your muscle potential.
The following article lists other benefits of working out with lighter weights.
Light Weight Workouts Made Easy
You can get a serious workout with light weights. Those smaller dumbbells can build your muscles and tone your body much like their heavier counterparts. Take a look at the benefits of light weights, and learn how to use them effectively.
Benefits of Working Out with Light Weights
1. Spend less – Affordability and convenience are two major advantages of light
weights. You’ll spend less on equipment and it will take up less room.
2. Enjoy more variety – If you want to keep making progress in building up your muscles and strength, you need to change your workout over time to prevent your body from adapting to a familiar routine. Light weights can accommodate a wider range of exercises.
3. Use good form – It’s easier to focus on good posture when you’re handling 3 pound dumbbells instead of the 30 pound versions. Develop good habits by mastering correct form from the start.
4. Avoid injury – In addition to giving you faster results, that good form will help you avoid accidents. You can work out consistently instead of taking time off to recover.
5. Work out independently – Bodybuilders usually need a partner to spot them so they won’t be crushed under a barbell if they give out midway. However, with light weights, you can exercise with a buddy or solo because you’re not pushing yourself to your maximum.
6. Reach your goals – Forget about the myth that light weights shape your body while heavy weights build big muscles. Any weight-bearing movement can be adapted to help you grow stronger and leaner.
Techniques for Working Out with Light Weights
1. Work to fatigue – Whether you’re bench pressing 200 pounds or just the bare bar, one principle is the same. Your greatest gains will come from doing enough repetitions so that you feel fatigued by the last couple of movements.
2. Speed it up – Light weights also enable you to work out more quickly. You can use this faster pace to enhance your performance in some of your favorite sports, or just take advantage of this opportunity to combine aerobic conditioning with strength training.
3. Use your body weight – Remember that your body weight alone can provide significant resistance too. Basics like pushups and dips will strengthen your upper body, while squats and lunges target your lower half.
4. Balance your workouts – Strength training is essential, but it takes more than that to optimize your health. Pay attention to aerobic conditioning, flexibility, and balance too.
5. Exercise at home – It’s easy to set up a home gym with light weights. You can buy the standard dumbbells and barbells or make your own. Plastic water bottles filled with liquid or sand are an inexpensive option.
6. Choose a gym – Many gyms can easily accommodate members who prefer to use lighter free weights and low resistance on exercise machines. On the other hand, it may be awkward to frequent a bodybuilding gym where sharing the equipment could require wasting a lot of time to make adjustments. Visit the venue at a busy time to see where you’d feel comfortable.
7. Budget your time – The biggest difference between lighter and heavier weight workouts may be the amount of time you need to invest. Heavier weights will usually shorten your sessions while light weights can give you similar results if you’re patient.
Use lights weights as a supplement to heavier workouts or enjoy them on their own. Any form of strength training can help you to become fit and trim as you shed body fat and build up your muscles and bone mass.