Do I Need To Lift Heavy Weights to Build Muscle?


Do I Need To Lift Heavy Weights to Build Muscle?

Is it True? Do I Have To Lift Heavy Weights to Build Muscle?

A question I get very often as a 20 year veteran Austin personal trainer is, “Do I need to lift heavy weights in order to gain muscle”? The answer is yes and no. We have 2 types of skeletal muscle. Fast and slow twitch. Each skeletal muscle on our bodies is comprised of a combination of the 2, and our genetics dictate how much of each is in each muscle. These 2 different fiber types both have sub sects as well but in the interest of not muddying the issue, we’ll examine this in broader terms.

If you’re looking to simply get stronger, yes, you’ll have to be lifting heavier weights. If you’re looking for endurance, then just the opposite holds true.  Fast twitch muscle fibers are anaerobic and are used when we need to lift heavy things, run as fast as we can, jump, etc. The slow twitch fibers are aerobic, meaning they’re fueled by oxygen and are used for things requiring more stamina than explosive actions. A jog, a long walk, a set of a lot of reps in the weight room are all examples where endurance is more necessary than brute strength.

If you want to fully develop your muscles for either aesthetics or functionality, you’ll need to focus on the building and engagement of both types of fibers in order to fully achieve your maximum growth. With bodybuilders, for example, this would be the case. Powerlifters on the other hand don’t need to worry as much about conditioning and stamina and would therefor need to focus on the fast twitch fiber activation and lift heavier weights than someone who’s looking for aesthetics. A sprinter would be more interested in fast twitch fibers as sprinting is very explosive as opposed to a marathon runner who’s success lies in their endurance.

For those who aren’t competitive athletes and are simply working out for general strength, health, and conditioning, I usually recommend both fast and slow twitch fiber recruitment with a emphasis on the slow twitch in order to reduce the risk of injury. With my personal training clients, this of course, would vary greatly depending on the client’s imbalances, medical history, needs, and goals.

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Andy
My name is Andy Bruchey and I founded Complete Fitness Design over 20 years ago. I specialize in weight loss/gain, including the addition of quality, lean muscle mass, corrective flexibility, post injury rehabilitation, nutrition and sports specific training.
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Do I Need To Lift Heavy Weights to Build Muscle?
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Do I Need To Lift Heavy Weights to Build Muscle?
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Austin personal trainer Andy Bruchey answers the often asked question of do I have to lift heavy weights to build muscle?
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Andy Bruchey- Complete Fitness Design

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About Andy

My name is Andy Bruchey and I am a longtime Austin personal trainer having founded Complete Fitness Design over 20 years ago. I specialize in weight loss/gain, including the addition of quality, lean muscle mass, corrective flexibility, post injury rehabilitation, nutrition, and sports specific training for professionals. Contact me today to see how I can help you!
3100 W Slaughter Ln Austin , Texas 78748 512-484-2270