In most circles of thought, the only way to build and develop muscle is through progressive overload and lifting heavy weights. To achieve ongoing results, one of the best methods to constantly challenge your body. In many ways in the long term, using lighter weights can actually the conditioning of the body, as opposed to a routine of building muscle using heavier weights. Here’s how to do it:
● Focus on tension by squeezing the target muscle(s) as hard as possible.
● Slow the tempo down by using a 4 second descent, and pauses at top and bottom. This creates more time under tension and more growth.
● Perform longer sets. The total amount of time under tension is more important than how many reps you do (because the pace of the rep will account for a higher or lower rep count). Aim for sets that last 45-120 seconds for optimal muscle growth.
● Perfect form, rather than just moving weight. It’s not just about going from A to B, but how you get there. Eliminate momentum and place emphasis on the correct muscles with perfect form.
● Put yourself at a mechanical disadvantage by changing the angle or increasing the range of motion. This will create more tension and more growth, but you will not be as strong, so to stay safe, you need to use a lighter weight.
Lighter weights are easier to recover from, put less stress on your joints and are safer to lift without a spotter. Sometimes, less is more.