Asking Santa for more muscle mass this year? Add a variety of weights to your Christmas list!

weights-to-build-muscle-dumbbellsResearch shows you can build muscle by lifting light weights or heavy weights. The key is working muscles to failure.

Belgium researchers worked with 56 older adults in a recent study. They performed leg press and leg extension exercises over 12 weeks. They were divided into three groups:

  • HIGH WEIGHT
    • Lifted 80% of their 1RM (one repetition maximum…the most weight a person can lift for one repetition)
    • 2 sets, 10-15 reps
  • LOW WEIGHT
    • Lifted 20% of 1RM
    • 80-100 reps
  • LOW WEIGHT (Mixed)
    • 1 set 20% of 1RM – 60 reps
    • 1 set 40% of 1RM – 10-20 reps

All three groups worked to muscle failure and all three groups increased muscle mass over 12 weeks, regardless of weight or reps. Two groups also increased their 1RM: (1) High Resistance, (2) Low Resistance (Mixed).

These results support previous research on the subject from McMaster University in Ontario (2010 & 2012).

Bottom line? Lift until your form starts to deteriorate from muscle fatigue and you’ll see results… whether you’re using light or heavy weights.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends weight/resistance training 2 to 3 times per week. Include the following major muscle groups:

  • Legs
  • Hips
  • Back
  • Abs
  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Arms

Have you been naughty or nice? If you’re naughty – expect coal in your stocking. If you’ve been nice, hope for weights!

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