Some people believe that lifting heavy weights is only for a certain group of people and that lifting big isn’t going to be very beneficial for them.
However, the truth is that every healthy person can benefit from lifting heavy weights; no matter what their goals are.
By heavy weights I also mean “heavy” relative to the person lifting.
I’m talking about resistance training where a person is exerting themselves in the range of 4 to 10 reps before they need to put down the bar.
This type of training has many benefits which can help anyone grow stronger and fitter; whether their goals are to lose body fat, build powerful toned muscles, or excel in a given sport.
I’ve heard many women speak of being afraid to lift weights too much because they’re afraid of becoming “bulky” but this is only a myth.
5 Reasons Why Everyone Should Lift Heavy Weights:
1) Lifting Heavy Weights Is How You Give Your Body Definition
One of the most common myths in the fitness world is that of being able to “tone” your muscles by doing high repetitions with a light weight.
This will supposedly cause the fat surrounding this muscle group to be burned up and therefore give more definition and tone to the area.
However, there’s one major problem with this…
We can’t control where our bodies burn fat for fuel.
That’s why doing 1,000 sit-ups a day or holding a plank for an hour every morning won’t be enough to give you a six-pack.
You need to lower your overall percentage of body fat to a point where the muscles in your stomach, however strong they may be, are visible.
Unfortunately we just can’t make our bodies burn the fuel around our stomachs by working those muscles specifically.
The only two things we can do is grow those muscles to give them more definition and to lower our overall body fat percentage in order to show those more defined muscles.
Luckily there’s a great method for achieving both of those goals; lifting heavy weights in a range of four to ten reps.
Exercising our muscles in this manner is the most efficient way to make them grow and growing our muscles is the only way to make them chiseled and defined.
The other thing that lifting in this manner will achieve is making our bodies burn significantly more calories throughout the day as our bodies build and repair the muscles that we’ve been working.
This will ultimately help us to create a caloric deficit that we will need in order to lose body fat and because we are doing that while building our muscles we don’t have to worry about our bodies burning our muscles for fuel instead of our fat.
This makes lifting heavy weights one of the best ways to achieve the toned and fit look that so many people want.
2) Lifting Heavy Releases Human Growth Hormone And Testosterone
One of the best and often overlooked benefits of putting your muscles under the stress of heavy resistance training is that it causes your body to release human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone.
HGH is an essential hormone that is important for building your body and testosterone is not just for men either.
Testosterone is essential not only for muscle growth but bone density, body fat regulation, and possibly even staving off dementia.
Testosterone helps control insulin which in turn regulates how your body uses energy.
Insulin sensitivity is key to whether your blood sugar is turned into adipose fat tissue or is properly burned as energy by your cells or converted into glycogen by your muscle cells to use later.
By maintaining a healthy level of testosterone you are not only helping to maintain your lean muscle mass but also stave off extra unwanted body fat.
On top of that, testosterone is also involved in producing strong bones along with strong muscles.
Related: The 5 Best Testosterone Boosters
3) Lifting Heavy Increases Bone Density
While we’re on the topic of strong bones it should be mentioned that the act of lifting heavy weights not only increases the strength of your muscles; it also increases the strength of your bones.
When we put our bodies under the stress of lifting and moving heavy objects we can feel all of our muscles straining with the effort of accomplishing our goal.
However, our muscles are not alone when they are pushing and pulling.
They’re anchored to our skeletal system.
When we lift a heavy object overhead our bones are also bearing the weight.
Because of this our skeletal system grows stronger and our bones grow denser and healthier.
This can have a huge impact on our quality of life as we grow older as well.
By building a strong and solid skeletal system we don’t have to be as nervous about entering old age.
This is especially important for women who have a higher statistical chance of developing osteoporosis.
By ensuring that your bones are strong and healthy you have much less to worry about though.
4) Improved Longevity And Quality Of Life In Old Age
For decades the health industry has put an emphasis on cardiovascular health as being paramount as heart disease continues to ravage our over-weight population.
However, muscular strength also has a major part to play in both how long we live and especially the quality of life that we enjoy when we’re older.
More and more medical professionals are seeing an aging populace that has more problems with performing simple physical tasks than with worrying about heart attacks.
Falling down and not being able to get up is terrifying and people who work in homes that specialize in caring for the elderly are more concerned about their patients having trouble getting in and out of their chairs or falling down and hurting themselves.
By putting an emphasis on developing a powerful musculature through weight lifting, and the strong and healthy skeletal system that accompanies it, we can help to ensure that we live longer and happier lives.
5) It’s Easier To Measure The Gains Which Helps Us Stay Motivated
One of the best parts about lifting heavy weights is that it’s very easy to measure your progress.
The difference between being able to do 200 sit-ups and 250 sit-ups doesn’t really feel like much.
We don’t feel particularly stronger or look that particularly different from doing it.
However, when we’re lifting heavy weights we can gain a real sense of accomplishment when we move up to a heavier barbell.
When we go from pressing a weight 7 times to 8 times it feels like a real accomplishment and we can’t wait till we can do 9 reps.
This is a feeling that I find is easiest to achieve with lifting.
Nothing else can so easily motivate me and give me a sense of steady progress.
This in turn helps me to stay focused and working hard even when I’m tired.
I can clearly see my progress; both what I’ve accomplished before and where I hope to be in the future.
Ultimately, lifting heavy weights is one of the best things you can do for your fitness and motivation.
It helps you to:
- Lose weight and look toned
- Release HGH and testosterone
- Strengthen your skeletal system
- Increase longevity and quality of life in old age
- Stay motivated in your fitness journey
So, if you haven’t already tried doing low repetition, heavy weight exercises in your routine go ahead and give it a try for a few months and see how you feel.
I guarantee your future self will thank you!
About the author:
Conor Flynn is a fitness blogger and writer who specializes in helping busy parents and professionals stay fit even with a busy schedule. You can find him at his site here or on twitter at Conor@90MinutesaWeek.