Should you increase weights to build muscle

You may be wondering what is the best way to gain muscle mass. Is it adding more weight on your bars and dumbbells? Is it performing more reps with a lower weight? What should you do to gain muscles mass? Some people say that to gain muscle as quickly as possible you’ll need to lift quite heavy weights. But is that so?

Many people believe that your muscles will grow in size only after you lift heavy. But if you use higher reps and lighter weights you can still achieve a wonderful effect.
Researchers from the McMaster University performed an experiment. They had a group of men who trained their legs for 10 weeks 3 times per week with one of the legs being trained with lighter weights for more reps and the other one being trained with lower reps and heavy weights. After 10 weeks passed, the researchers found that the new muscles gained by both legs was… well, almost identical. Both type I and type II muscle fibers increased equally in average size for heavy and for light loads which means that both those types of fibers were stimulated during the training session.

High reps with light weights have also been shown to raise the protein synthesis in the muscles in the quads for 24 hours after a work-out session, and to a greater extent than heavy weights for low reps. Japanese scientists also did a research – the results showed that slowly lifting a light weight had almost the same effect on the muscle mass as the heavy training session.

Also, if you pile too much weight on your barbell, you are putting yourself at risk to go into technical failure – that’s when you are physically unable to continue performing repetitions with good form.

Some people also think that adding weight on each set helps improve muscle gain. Let’s see the pros and cons of this.

Pros of adding weight

The biggest benefit of adding weight on each set is that you’ll be able to properly warm up.
It’s risky to jump straight ahead to lifting heavy weights, this may even lead to injuries.
Adding weight on every set is a wonderful way to warm up your muscles and to activate the CNS (central nervous system) so you’ll get ready for the heavy training session without fatiguing quickly. And you’ll also have the chance to refine your lifting technique with the lighter weight.

Cons of adding weight

There is one risk of following this technique. And it’s that you can easy get carried away of the sets with lighter weight and try to increase the amount of reps. This then may lead to fatigue at a later stage and this fatigue may not allow you to lift heavier weight on your last sets. When you follow this technique, do only one set with the heaviest weight.

Exercises to incorporate in the muscle gain routine

Dumbbell bench press – this loads the pectorals and the torso muscles. To do this, lie on a flat bench, hold a pair of dumbbells straight above the chest and keep the palms forward. Start slowly lowering the weights keeping the elbows close to the body and the feet – flat on the floor. Stop when your elbows are just below parallel with respect to the floor position.

Dumbbell squat – stand straight with your feet apart at a hip width. Hold a pair of dumbbells by your sides at an arm’s length. Push the hips back and start bending your knees until the thighs are parallel to the floor.

One-arm dumbbell row – place the right hand and knee on a bench. Your left foot should be at the floor. With your left hand, hold a dumbbell at an arm’s length. Start pulling the dumbbell up towards the ribs and at the top of the movement squeeze your shoulder. Keep your elbows close to the sides of the body. Pause and lower the dumbbell to starting position.

Seated dumbbell lateral shoulder raise – sit on a chair or on a bench. Hold a pair of dumbbells by your sides at an arm’s length. Your palms should be faced forward. Start raising the dumbbells out to the sides until your arms are at a position parallel to the ground. Lower your hands to starting position.

Resources:
https://www.openfit.com/weightlifting-gain-muscle-and-strength
https://www.menshealth.com/uk/building-muscle/a749625/do-i-have-to-lift-heavy-to-build-muscle/
https://www.livestrong.com/article/388265-is-adding-weight-on-each-set-the-best-way-to-gain-muscle-when-weightlifting/

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