Lifting Heavy Weights vs Light Weights


There is a constant argument between those that believe in lifting Heavy Weights versus those that believe in lifting Lighter Weights. Their Goal is the same – build strength and muscle mass.

There are times that I feel like I have the Devil (heavy) on one shoulder and the Angel (light) on the other. My head is in between these two opposites – it gives me a head ache.

Then – of course – there is the big bad – Ego. You look around the gym and the “Guys” with big guns are always lifting heavy weights. Am I being shamed by lifting lighter weights.

Spotted this Article Lifting Lighter Weights Is Just As Effective As Heavy Weights.

A new study from McMaster University in Canada has shown that lifting lighter weights is just as effective for building muscle as lifting heavy ones.

Researchers say the key is to get your muscles just as tired as they would with heavier weights by lifting lighter weights for more repetitions.

“Fatigue is the great equaliser here,” said Stuart Phillips, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University. “Lift to the point of exhaustion, and it doesn’t matter whether the weights are heavy or light.

Then there is the question – How light is light? – How heavy is heavy?

The first group lifted lighter weights (30-50 per cent of the maximum weight the individuals could lift), for 20-25 repetitions per set for three sets. The second group lifted heavier weights (between 75-90 per cent of the maximum weight people could lift) for 8-12 repetitions per set.

So we define lighter weights as the weight which brings you to exhaustion between 20-25 reps – and – heavier weights as the weight which brings you to exhaustion between 8-12 reps. Assuming that each rep – no matter what the weight – takes the same amount of time to complete – the lighter workout is going to take 2-3 times longer than the heavier workout.

Since most of us are time limited when we walk into the gym – then stick with heavier weights. Maybe – when you have time on your hands – switch it up with lighter weights.

At least now, I have a standard to follow.

But – if I should “Lift to the point of exhaustion” what happened to the rule about “leaving one in the tank.” 😉


Goblet Squat


This morning was a full Resistance Training workout.  One of the exercises was a Goblet Squat.  I do them with a Dumbbell but you can do them with a Kettlebell as well.  I did two sets of 10 reps with an 80 pound dumbbell. In the middle of the exercise – I realized that the really heavy 80 pounder was exactly the amount of weight I lost.  No wonder I need a Hip Replacement.  Here are two examples:

1001-goblet-squat-483x300 goblet

Squat Rack

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I’m as happy as a pig in slop.  My biggest complaint about the Retro Fitness I joined is its lack of duplication of free weight equipment – especially the squat rack.  No – not the two Smith Machines – which I do not use – but the basic Squat Rack.  Apparently Hammer Strength makes a variation on its equipment for Retro Fitness.  Minor modifications and all painted Yellow.

This is a picture of the old one – under nourished and over used by those doing curls.

Squat Rack Old

This morning there was a new Squat Rack – in addition to the old one.

Sqauat Rack New

There are some differences.  There are two different chin-up bars and a set of fold down foot steps to assist in reaching them.

I am super happy.  I did not have to change the order of my workout to do hack squats and chin-ups.

I can only hope they don’t remove the old one.

Why did they get this new piece of equipment – squeezed into an under-sized free weight area?  Probably the same reason they are giving away 2 free months if you sign a new one-year agreement – competition.  A new – fancy – 24 Hour Fitness is opening a couple of miles down the road.

Whatever the reason – I am as happy as a pig in slop.

Dead Lift – Back At It!

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Today’s main event was the Dead Lift. 

Before I moved away from doing them, I had hit 225.  That was more than a year ago – at least before my wife’s stroke.  I backed off of that level since it required significant focus on one lift.  I wanted to get a more full body workout. 

Last week I hit 120 + the bar = 165.  I used a 35 and 25 on each side.  This morning, I started with 45s for my first set.  Went to add weight to get to the 120 and realized that I would need a 10 and a 5 on each side.  Too much effort – so I just added a 25 on each side.  Done.   185 – just a bit above my body weight.  Did two sets of 3 and then took off the 25s and did a final set of 6.

Used a 65 pound DB for goblet squats.  No Problem.

I do not need to lift Heavy Weights – never going to be a competitive lifter – but it is nice to be able to – do more than the next guy.

A good day.

Real Steel

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Saw the last half hour or so of “Real Steel” the robot boxing movie with Hugh Jackman.  Damn – that guy can bulk up when the movie calls for it.  Saw him on Broadway in “The Boy From Oz,”  as a song and dance man – wow – made any cardio workout I’ve done look like a walk in the park.

This morning I was able to workout at NYSC.  Man – I miss the sound of Iron clanging against Iron.  The sound gives you an instant auditory feedback.  It engages you in an overall sensuous experience.

At Retro Fitness, the iron’s natural hardness is covered in rubber.  The feel is soft.  The sound is not there.  The overall experience is muted.

You pick up the weight and your hands engulf soft rubber.  Your muscles don’t respond to the weight as they should.  Trying to slide the damnable rubber coated thing onto the hard bar calls for massive amounts of lube that are nowhere to be found.  Why bother with a safety collar – the rubber will never slide off the bar.

Yes – you can get the same workout at Retro Fitness – but the pleasure is covered in rubber.  😦



My back is a mess – has been for years.  My first major bout was in College.  I was on the top of a bunk bed, heard that Kennedy had been shot – jumped down and landed in the ER with a severe back problem.  That was Day One.  Since then – let me count the number of times that I have been to an Orthopedist’s or Chiropractor’s office – Many.  As I’ve aged – it has not gotten better – now it is L4, L5, protrusions, arthritic changes – name it – I should’ve been walking on all fours.

I listened well to the chorus of fools and only did the machines which stabilized my back.  Man – I grew muscles – but the back still hurt.  Sciatica they name is pain.

I ended up with an area of paresthesia on my left leg from my ankle up about 12 inches more or less.  It was a constant annoyance.  Obviously, something was impinging upon a nerve.  I went to an Orthopedic Surgeon.  He asked me to touch my toes – I did – and maybe – my palms down as well – He said – tough it out – you are not a candidate for surgery.

After years of refusing to do any free weights, out of fear of injuring my back, I was encouraged to do them through my interaction on the 52DC.  I started – slowly.  The area of paresthesia was ever-present.  My friend – my enemy – just there.

Yesterday, I realized two things.  The tingling was back – the tingling had been gone for years.  Who realized – not me.

I have done every exercise that should have destroyed my back – instead – it helped. WTF?

This is a puzzle.

My conclusion:  Hitting all those stabilizing muscles and core muscles really helped.

Well – unfortunately my “friend” is back.  I don’t care – it reminds me that it was gone for a couple of years – so I’ll just keep on truck’n and eventually it will disappear again.

Stabilizing Muscles – they are the ones you need to focus on.  Forget the Bro-Science and just Do It.