How will not lifting as much weight affect your muscle growth?
I'm so glad you asked.
Gyms are shut. Most fitness businesses have jumped into some form of an online platform to keep delivering classes and coaching, which looks and feels a little.. different.
No doubt you are still getting an awesome workout in, and are so thankful to see the sweaty faces of your gym crew, but a few of our girls have asked..
BUT WHAT ABOUT MY GAINS!?
Muscle gain is an awesome side effect of weight training. It’s what initially lured me into the gym - because I wanted to look like I trained. Now that we aren’t in the gym for a little bit - how is this going to affect muscle growth?
Muscles grow in response to a stimulus - such as lifting weights. Growth occurs when we perform movements to a certain threshold ie; it has to be challenging. NOTE: This doesn’t always mean heavy. This threshold causes stress in the muscle fibres and little micro-tears. As the body works to heal these tears, a whole bunch of things happen, which can then result in muscle growth. Cool hey!? Now it is obviously much more complicated than this and involves other factors such as hormones, protein synthesis and much more, but you get the general idea; You do something hard (whether it be lots of it, or something heavy or something you’re not used to) and your muscles get little baby tears and then they (hopefully) grow!
So yes, lifting heavy weights is going to help you grow muscle. But there are a couple of other things we can do to help with the above process - especially now that we don’t all have access to those heavy weights.
You may have noticed that our ‘strength’ work is formatted a little differently now. We have made use of things like tempos and paused reps to create what we call ‘time under tension’ - essentially stressing the muscle fibres for more TIME because we don’t have access to more LOAD. We have also built in other little format changes to keep those muscles guessing with things such as EMOM's, where we can control rest breaks, and super sets where we can load a few different muscle groups in quick succession, under a bit of fatigue. On top of all of this, we are working more volume - essentially doing MORE with those muscles, because we don’t have access to load right now.
So, in summary:
- Yes, you can technically gain muscle without lifting heavy weights. Is it as effective? Probably not. Is it as fast? Nope. Does it really matter? Unless you’ve got an upcoming body building show you forgot to tell us about, nope.
- Training is going to look a little different for a little (or long?) while - and that’s okay! The same way that stress forces a muscle to grow, this is going to force US to grow; as people, as businesses, as athletes.
- But don’t worry, we have your back - we’ve got a team of very qualified and experienced coaches working on training formats and variations to make sure you don’t lose your gains during this time.
Feel free to share this article with a friend. The friend that keeps trying to deadlift their partner.
Coach Candice xx