Are heavy or light weights better for building muscle?
Many individuals choose heavy weights for building visible muscle, but using light weights is often recommended if you’re just starting out with strength training. Lifting heavier weights is generally more effective for muscle building. The body requires a sufficient enough outside force that it needs to be challenged with for the muscle to grow.
The muscle fibers are broken down under stress, and soreness is experienced when the muscle fibers rebuild themselves. This process grows and strengthens the muscle, which better equips the muscles to manage the weight at the next workout.
Although heavy can be subjective, lifting weights that are sufficiently heavy to strain the muscles enough to produce these tiny tears is best. Research has however indicated that lighter weight loads can also be just as, or even more effective than heavier weights for muscle building. Heavy weight loads with fewer repetitions and lighter weight loads with more repetitions were both revealed to be effective for muscle building.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00307.20122✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
A study has however shown that heavier weights are better for building muscular strength as opposed to growing the size of the muscles. So lighter weight loads can grow the muscles while heavier weights build muscle strength.3✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
Are heavy or light weights better for beginners?
It’s not necessary to lift heavy weights when starting out as long as something heavy enough is chosen that challenges the muscles adequately. Choosing heavier weights that are challenging while retaining proper form and weight is increased at each subsequent workout is best for gaining muscle whether a beginner or advanced weight lifter.
It’s best to ease into it, as adding resistance basically tears the muscle. Smaller weight loads will produce smaller tears with less muscle soreness and a faster recovery time. It’s better to avoid going too heavy too quickly, as it could result in a serious tear which could lead to an injury.
Are heavy or light weights better for weight loss?
Whether light or heavy weight is the best option for losing weight depends on how much energy the body uses. Weight loss is achieved by expending more energy than taken in. More calories should be burnt than the amount of calories consumed whether from cardio exercises, resistance training, or general physical activities.
This is called a calorie deficit and is regarded as one of the most popular methods for losing weight. This means the weight load used is not that important. A similar amount of calories will be burnt from working out with heavy weights as from lighter weights, especially if more repetitions are performed with light weights.
There’s also however a difference between losing weight and losing fat. Weight can be lost in a calorie deficit, so the lbs are reduced, but many individuals want to lose fat and also have a leaner physique, even if it means putting on weight. Exercises requiring weights not only build muscle and burn fat while working but also helps in burning fat during the day.