Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Heavy Weights vs. Light Weights - By Jim Duggan

     I've often said that there is no shortage of training information available today.  In the past, you would have to wait for the various "muscle magazines" to arrive at the newsstand.  If you were like most trainees, you had a favorite magazine that you used to follow the various champions, the way they trained, and other "breakthroughs" in the world of Strength.  Usually, once you got your hands on a magazine, you would read it from cover to cover.  Then, having devoured everything contained within the pages, you had to wait another month for the next issue to arrive.  Obviously,  that isn't the case today.  We have instant access to any and all online authors and articles.  A plethora of information is only a click away.
     Unfortunately, while there is a vast quantity of training articles, the actual quality leaves something to be desired.  Most, if not all, of what's online is not written for the serious lifter in mind.  And the "muscle comics" that are still in print are no better.  They are of little use to people who want to LIFT.  Toning, pumping, shaping, and "judgement free" training seem to be the order of the day.  But what if you want to get bigger and stronger? More importantly, what if you want build drug-free strength the right way?
     I recently came across an article which addressed the age-old debate of heavy exercise versus light training.  The author was about to embark on a strength-training program, and was describing his introduction to the world of lifting weights.  Instead of summarizing the article, I will repeat some of the main ideas that he brings up in the article.  These ideas are certainly useful, and will be helpful to anyone who lifts weights, regardless of their level of experience. 
     "Every system was supposed to be the best."  How many times have we heard that? High volume, Low volume, Nautilus, High Intensity, Super-Slow, Abbreviated Training,  Six Sets of Six, Five Sets of Five, etc..  It can get pretty confusing, especially for a beginner. But the main thing to remember is that no matter what philosophy you subscribe to, it won't be worth a damn if you don't work hard.  That means training consistently and progressively.
     "To obtain muscle of any size and strength, one has to use those muscles against heavy resistance, ever greater resistance, and that the muscles have to be forced to do harder work."  Hard work. Poundage progression. Progressive resistance means just that.  If you are not increasing your poundages on a consistent basis, then you are doing something wrong.  Don't be afraid to push the poundages.  If you are seeking to gain size and strength, that is the only way to make gains. You're not going to get there with milk and cookies.
     "Muscles quickly become accustomed to the work demanded of them.  It is necessary to make demands of the muscles, to make them overcome more and more resistance."  It's not easy to push yourself to bigger poundages. Years ago, a famous Weightlifting champion said that  "The weight must not be feared. It must fear you." It takes a brave person to lift heavy weights. Sometimes a training partner can provide the impetus to push past boundaries that were seemingly unreachable.
     "Don't make the mistake of using weights that are too easy to handle."  If you train in a commercial gym, you will see a lot of things that will cause you to shake your head.  Guys doing Standing Presses with a 55 Lb. barbell, then sitting around for five minutes texting on their phones. And they wonder why they can't gain.  If you want to be able to lift heavy weights, then you must lift heavier weights than what you're using now.  And you have to work hard.
    "The best results are to be had by including in the training program exercises which involve all the muscles."  I saved the best for last.  Only movements which bring all the muscles into play make the internal change that build size and strength.  Training the large muscle groups stimulate the entire body to grow bigger and stronger.  In other words, isolation movements are definitely out.  Good-bye cable-crossovers, and tricep pushdowns.  Hello Squats, Presses, and Deadlifts. We're all familiar with people who have made great gains in size and strength by utilizing a program of heavy Squatting.  Years ago, my friend Larry Licandro gained fifteen pounds of muscle by doing just three exercises: Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift. No Pulldowns. No curls.   Too many people waste their time doing isolation movements that bring little-if any- increase in size and strength.  You can do concentration curls from now until the cows come home, but if you're not Squatting or Deadlifting, you will not gain.  Leave the wimpy exercises to the pumpers and toners and hit the multi-joint movements. The exercises that have built men from John Grimek to Norbert Schemansky.
     The ideas presented in the article that I'm referring to can be invaluable for anyone looking to get bigger and stronger.  One more thing that I'd like to add is that the original article from which these ideas came is from the September, 1937 issue of Strength and Health. The title of the article was "Heavy Exercise Is Best." Truer words were never spoken. Yes, over eighty years ago, trainees were interested in getting bigger and stronger.  And the answers were readily apparent way back then.  And over the years, countless thousands have benefited from a common sense approach that emphasized hard work, basic exercises, and heavy weights.  No gimmicks, no personal trainers, no fancy equipment.  It worked back then, and it will work today.
Does modern bodybuilding make you sick? You should write for Natural Strength! I always need good articles about drug-free weight training. It only has to be at least a page and nothing fancy. Just write it strong and truthful with passion! Send your articles directly to me: bobwhelan@naturalstrength.com
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