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  1. #1

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    McMaster Study: Building muscle doesn't require lifting heavy weights

    "These results suggest that low-load high volume resistance exercise is more effective in inducing acute muscle anabolism than high-load low volume or work matched resistance exercise modes."



    Building muscle doesn't require lifting heavy weights: study

    August 11, 2010
    Current gym dogma holds that to build muscle size you need to lift heavy weights. However, a new study conducted at McMaster University has shown that a similar degree of muscle building can be achieved by using lighter weights. The secret is to pump iron until you reach muscle fatigue.



    "Rather than grunting and straining to lift heavy weights, you can grab something much lighter but you have to lift it until you can't lift it anymore," says Stuart Phillips, associate professor of kinesiology at McMaster University. "We're convinced that growing muscle means stimulating your muscle to make new muscle proteins, a process in the body that over time accumulates into bigger muscles."


    Phillips praised lead author and senior Ph.D. student Nicholas Burd for masterminding the project that showed it's really not the weight that you lift but the fact that you get muscular fatigue that's the critical point in building muscle.

    . The study used light weights that represented a percentage of what the subjects could lift. The heavier weights were set to 90% of a person's best lift and the light weights at a mere 30% of what people could lift. "It's a very light weight," says Phillips noting that the 90-80% range is usually something people can lift from 5-10 times before fatigue sets in. At 30%, Burd reported that subjects could lift that weight at least 24 times before they felt fatigue.


    "We're excited to see where this new paradigm will lead," says Phillips, adding that these new data have practical significance for gym enthusiasts but more importantly for people with compromised skeletal muscle mass, such as the elderly, patients with cancer, or those who are recovering from trauma, surgery, or even stroke.

    The findings are published in PLoS ONE.

    More information: http://www.plosone … pone.0012033
    Last edited by Craig Jenkins; 8/13/2010 8:48am at .

  2. #2
    Kintanon's Avatar
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    This is not new information. No one is going to tell you that in order to have visible large muscles you should left high weight low rep. They will tell you that in order to improve your maximum strength you should lift high weight, low rep. If you want to look like a bodybuilder then you can lift low weight high rep all day long. If you want to be able to pick up a 500lb boulder and put it on a pedestal then no amount of lifting 100lbs will do it for you.

  3. #3
    Scrapper's Avatar
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    in other news, water is wet.
    And lo, Kano looked down upon the field and saw the multitudes. Amongst them were the disciples of Uesheba who were greatly vexed at his sayings. And Kano spake: "Do not be concerned with the mote in thy neighbor's eye, when verily thou hast a massive stick in thine ass".

    --Scrolls of Bujutsu: Chapter 5 vs 10-14.

  4. #4

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    You do know that volume = hypertrophy right?

    Oh wait, no, you posted this article.

  5. #5

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    Here are two concepts for you: myofibrilar hypertrophy and scarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Lifting only heavy weights is actually suboptimal for mass gain -- everyone who knows anything knows this -- but heavy weights are the best way to get strong.

    That's also a stupidly designed study - 90 and 30 % RM? Really, those are the two options?

    90% of RM is damn heavy, especially if you're reasonably strong. You just can get the volume in you'd need for great hypertrophy (although you'll probably get some). But do it too much and your nervous system will fry.

  6. #6

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    Surely you cant get big without lifting heavy ass weights and just fannying around with light ones?

  7. #7

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    You can, if you go to do it to exhaustion. Most BB's use (for them) relatively light weights and high volume. But your strength won't keep up with appearances. Most pure bodybuilders are weaker than they look -- not that they're weak, just that they're not as strong as a comparable sized powerlifter, o-lifter, strongman competitor etc.

    It's complicated though. Heavy weights tend to give a "harder" look. And the stronger you are, the heavier weights you can use on volume-based work outs, which in turn gives you more training stimulus. Which is why it's a good idea to get strong before doing pure bodybuilding.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Res Judicata View Post
    You can, if you go to do it to exhaustion. Most BB's use (for them) relatively light weights and high volume. But your strength won't keep up with appearances. Most pure bodybuilders are weaker than they look -- not that they're weak, just that they're not as strong as a comparable sized powerlifter, o-lifter, strongman competitor etc.

    It's complicated though. Heavy weights tend to give a "harder" look. And the stronger you are, the heavier weights you can use on volume-based work outs, which in turn gives you more training stimulus. Which is why it's a good idea to get strong before doing pure bodybuilding.
    All you have to do to confirm this "study" is look at some of the power/endurance athletes. Cyclists have huge quads/calves. They aren't pushing heavy weights around, they are just pedaling thousands and thousands of times under medium loads.

    The heavy weights being a "harder look", you think that's due to fiber and/or ancillary muscle recruitment due to a heavier weight being closer to an isotonic movement than a lighter weight?

    John

  9. #9
    Emevas's Avatar
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    This study demonstrates how poorly run most studies in exercise go.
    "Emevas,
    You're a scrapper, I like that."-Ronin69

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emevas View Post
    This study demonstrates how poorly run most studies in exercise go.
    I re-read the article, and I agree.


    It's as if those PhD's didn't know or understand much about the concepts involved in muscle fiber recruitment...

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