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Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Ok, let's clear the air right at the start- becoming your strongest self, or your biggest self, both require a different approach in resistance training. You need to first be clear about your goals, and then train accordingly. If you are training to enter a powerlifting competition, then by all means go ahead and perform your heavy squats, bench presses and deadlifts with low reps. Or even if you're a competitive athlete who needs to maximise strength, without putting on too much bulk, then low-rep (<five repetitions) and heavy weight training might be for you.
But, focusing more on the load that you lift, rather than the quality of your workouts, won't help you pack on maximum muscle. Training with heavy weights unnecessarily might also predispose you to muscle and joint injuries. So don't let your ego dictate your lifting habits. Drop the "how much can I bench" mindset unless you're a competitive strength athlete aiming to win medals. You often see guys training heavy for every session in the gym, and still not put on much muscle mass. This is because the heavy lifting makes you stronger like a powerlifter, but not necessarily big like a bodybuilder. Though most of us might not aspire to be as massively built as some professional bodybuilders, the principles used in bodybuilding training can come in handy to pack on some muscle.
As you can see from the table, go easy on the heavy sets if you're looking to pack on maximum muscle size. Also, get used to the theory of pumping the muscle with multiple sets-as espoused by Arnold Schwarzenneger and general bodybuilding training principles. It's not that training with heavy weights won't build any muscle; it's just that the size you gain will be lesser in comparison, and the potential for injuries for a regular guy goes up.
Deckline Leitao, who holds a sports science degree from South Africa and a PG diploma from the UK, is one of India's most qualified trainers.
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