Rising Sun Physical Therapy February 2020

February 2020

MaximizeYourGains And Optimize GymTimeWithThese Tips

According to The New York Times, muscle mass starts diminishing during your 30s and keeps diminishing over time, even if you stay active. Given that greater muscle mass can help prevent chronic diseases and improve your overall health, it’s no surprise that the federal government recommends incorporating two sessions of strength training into your weekly exercise regimen. The benefits of strength training are broadly accepted and understood, but what scientists don’t agree on is how to weight train. Traditional weightlifting wisdom tells you that the best way to get stronger is to lift the heaviest weight you can 8–10 times in a row to optimize gains in both strength and muscle size. But researchers at Ontario’s McMaster University challenge that wisdom. Their study (which focused on men) found that gains in both strength and muscle size were the same, regardless of if the men did 20–25 reps with lighter weights or 8–12 reps with heavier weights. The number of reps compensated for the heftiness of the weights and vice versa, and the total amount lifted and subsequent muscle fatigue is what drove muscle growth.

So, what does that mean for your own workout routine?

LOSE THE BIGGER BARBELLS

Loading up the bar with a daunting number of pounds or grabbing the huge dumbbells can officially be a thing of the past. Some people prefer to lift large loads, but if you find that intimidating, you can stick to your lighter weights. Just be prepared to do more reps. That said, exclusively focusing on high-rep workouts can lead to injury and burnout. To optimize gains and avoid injury or burnout, mix up your schedule by doing both high-weight, low-rep days and low- weight, high-rep days. By switching back and forth, you’ll always be fatiguing your muscles and maximizing your weightlifting benefits.

WORK WITH A PROFESSIONAL

More often than not, most people who attempt to implement a weightlifting regimen into their routine do it poorly. According to The New York Times, most people aren’t lifting enough weight to see gains.

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