Should you lift heavy or light to build muscle fast? At the risk of being criticized and written off by many form obsessed trainers and exercisers I decided to make this video where I will be talking about why bad form is great.
Today trainers and many people that just want to exercise safely are literally obsessed with their form. And when I say obsessed I mean obsessed. We’ve all heard the benefits of lifting with good form… these include preventing injuries, targeting your muscles better, and learning to maximize your strength and energy during a lift. However, there is a huge cost to your results when the idea of having good form is taken out of proportion.
Lift HEAVY or LIGHT to Build Muscle? ➟ #1 Workout & Training Myth Best Way to Build Muscle Mass Fast
Everyone that has lifted weights with me knows that I don’t have the best form in the world. In fact, sometimes my form can be plain ugly. However, the ironic thing is that I credit a lot of my success in regard to building muscle to my shitty form. I know that this sounds so far from what almost everyone is telling you, but allow me to explain and I’m sure you’ll appreciate having bad form a little more.
First let me start by saying there is a huge difference between having bad form toward the end of your set, and having horrible form for your whole set. If you lift up a weight and from the very first rep you’re using momentum and just messing up the exercise then that is not bad form that’s plain stupid form.
Everyone’s seen the people in the gym that come in doing some really crazy shit. When you lift weights without any attention to form, and your bench press turns into full out hip bridges then you got a serious case of stupid form. That is not what I am advocating in this video. Having stupid form is on one end of the spectrum, and its polar opposite is perfect obsessive form. We don’t want either, we want instead to fall somewhere in the middle.
Perfect obsessive form is the guy that you see doing curls with his 15lb dumbbells without flinching a single muscle other than his bicep. He will lift up the weight rep it out without much struggle, and never have to do a single cheat rep. If he gets even close to cheating, he will either stop the set short, lower the weight he’s lifting, or a combination of both.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of trainers out there that fully endorse this “perfect” style of training. Now unless this guy is on some serious steroids, just like the stupid form guy, he is not going to get the results he is looking for, and if he’s a pure natural lifter forget about it. Why because natural lifters need to lift heavy weight to grow their muscles larger and large and with heavy weight comes imperfect form. It comes with the territory. So, what exactly do I mean by bad form. I mean that by the end of your set the last 2-3 reps should look a little sloppy if you picked the right weight. Where the perfect form guy would stop and grab lighter weight, you keep going and take advantage of the reps that truly count.
Muhammad Ali has a great quote that goes like this. “I don’t count my sit-ups, I only start counting when it starts hurting, when I feel pain, that’s when I start counting, cause that’s when it really counts.” If you’re doing everything with absolute perfect form, when you start feeling the fatigue that Muhammad Ali is talking about your likely to end the set shortly afterwards because soon after fatigue sets in you start cheating.
Unfortunately for the form perfectionists out there, the reps that count the most are the reps that you need to struggle with to complete, and there is no way you’re going to truly struggle every set and maintain perfect form. Should you lift heavy or light to build muscle? To grow your muscles as a natural you’re going to have to take yourself out of your comfort zone. Whenever you step out of your comfort zone there is going to be plenty of failure…and failure isn’t pretty.
Lift HEAVY or LIGHT to Build Muscle
Check out my client Seth’s transformation where he put on a whole bunch of muscle.
The only way to have perfect form every set and every rep is to never truly push and challenge yourself, and if you don’t push and challenge yourself you’re going to hurt your results big time. If you look at most top bodybuilders and strongmen, you’ll see that their form is far from perfect especially when they get to the end of their sets. They know how valuable squeezing out those last couple cheat reps are.
If you’re putting the weight down and you don’t feel like you truly struggled with those last few reps, then no amount of perfect form will do you any good. Another thing I want to bring to your attention in knowing if you should lift heavy or light to build muscle is that nobody even knows what truly perfect form is. Take squats for example. Some will tell you to not go lower than 90 degrees, others will tell you to go ass to the grass which means all the way down to the floor. Some people will tell you to keep your feet pointed forward others will tell you to point them outward. Some will tell you to sit as far back on the heels as possible, others will tell you to stay on the middle of your foot.
The bottom line of all of this is don’t be the guy in the gym that comes in and lifts weights until he drops, and don’t be the guy that screws up his whole set with momentum. That will increase your risk of injury and really impede your progress with muscle growth. By the same token being the guy that never does any cheat reps and quits as soon as fatigue sets in will also impede your progress with muscle growth. You want to be somewhere in the middle.
Pick a weight that requires you to cheat those last couple reps. Progressive overload is the factor that leads to progress in both strength and size of your muscles. If there was no pushing yourself a little past the point of fatigue in your lifts then the word overload would not be used to describe this very necessary component for true gains.