Discover the science why people that starting a gym should use light and moderate weights to gain maximum muscle mass in the first 2-3 months of training to gain muscle, prevent injury and grow.

For hardgainers (ectomorphs), strength training, including heavy weights, is most affected by those metabolic changes that allow you to add to the mass. No other type of training can bring as much benefit to the hardgainer as strength training for 1-6 repetitions. At least, if we are talking about athletes who do not take hormonal anabolic drugs beginner muscle gains.

In general, for any visitor to the gym (whether it’s a hardgainer or not), the effectiveness of heavy weights for gaining weight and increasing strength is not questioned.

On the effectiveness of light weights

using light weights to build muscleAt the same time, there are scientific concepts according to which small weights (work with which can not be called power) have the property of increasing the mass not worse than heavy ones beginner muscle gains.

For example, the work showed that training with a weight of 80% of 1 PM to failure in 3 sets and training with a weight of 30% of 1 PM to failure in 3 sets give the same result. By the way, the study involved boys aged 20-22 years who did not have a large training experience behind them. This experiment was conducted by American scientists beginner muscle gains. It should be noted that a closely related study was also organized by Russian researchers. For example, for beginners, it was attested that the effectiveness of training with a weight of 80% of 1 PM to subotka and 40% of 1 PM to failure is approximately the same.

Here is another study of foreign scientists. Three types of training were compared: the first type is work with a weight of 90% from 1 PM to failure in 4 sets, the second type – work with a weight of 30% not up to failure in 4 sets and the third type – work with a weight of 30% to failure in 4 sets. As a result, it turned out that work to failure with a weight of 90% and 30% of 1 PM is approximately the same in terms of effectiveness. While working with a weight of 30% is not to the point of failure led to much worse results.

Theoretically, it can be assumed that the effectiveness of building muscle with light weights is due to the fact that they hypertrophy other types of muscle fibers, in particular type I (oxidation type).

On the other hand, heavy weights develop all types of muscle fibers, including Type I fibers. This is natural (according to Hennemann’s rule), and this is confirmed scientifically, for example, in the work. Therefore, the question is not so straightforward. Although, it is quite possible that heavy weights and building muscle with light weights have different effects on the types of muscle fibers, in particular type I.

However, the superiority of heavy weights, in fact, is what. A group of American scientists, comparing training with build muscle with light weights (30% of 1 PM) and heavy (80% of 1 PM), concluded that working with heavy weights copes much better with the role of increasing the number of motor units. And this is exactly the factor that is associated with the increase in muscle strength necessary beginner body building for the hypertrophic progress of the hardgainer.

building muscle with light weights

When to train with light weights?

Scientific experiments lead us to the idea that the muscle growth factor is a muscle failure, and everything else, including weight of weights, does not matter. But the life practice says something else beginner body building: if you want to be big, lift big weights. Otherwise, both bodybuilders and powerlifters would train exclusively with light weights. According to theory, the usual push-ups from sex to failure should increase the mountain of muscles. In practice, this does not happen. A muscle failure is far from the main thing in training beginner muscle gains (see “Is it worth working to failure”).

On the other hand, smoke without fire, as they say, does not happen. This means that light weights as an element of heavy (and not restorative) loads should not be discarded. So, to whom do light weights fit?

  1. For beginners. Existing experiments pointing to the effectiveness of light weights to failure, most of them were conducted on beginners.
  2. For those who are strongly dominated by oxidative (slow) muscle fibers (the version is purely hypothetical).
  3. For those who encountered stagnation. Due to the fact that light weight has been shown to have a positive effect on muscle growth, one should not be afraid to reduce weight significantly if progress has stopped.
  4. For everyone with a view to periodizing the training. The alternation of work periods with large weights and periods of heavy work with light weights is an excellent scheme of macroperiodization. It is for this reason that training with using light weights to build muscle, if it is to go after a long period of strength training, has a noticeable result.
  5. For those who are not recommended using light weights to build muscle. It is about those who suffer from various diseases and pathologies of the body, because of which medicine prohibits heavy burdens.
  6. For those who are already aged. As you know, for age athletes, strength training is too traumatic, especially for joints and ligaments. Occupations with light weights are a good alternative and, in the light of the above described scientific data, it is not hopeless for muscle growth.

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