How lifting heavy weights boosts muscle strength

Lifting heavy weights may help you enhance your muscle strength more than light weight training because the nervous system facilitates improvements in strength during high-load training, researchers suggests.

The study aimed to find out how the brain and motor neurons — cells that send electrical signals to muscle — adapt to high versus low-load weight training. The findings showed that despite similar increases in muscle thickness, high-load training may be superior for enhancing muscle strength than low-load training.

The nervous system activates more of the motor neurons — or excites them more frequently — when subjected to high-load training. This increased excitation could account for the greater strength gains despite comparable growth in muscle mass, the researchers said.

“If you’re trying to increase strength — whether you’re a gym rat or an athlete — training with high loads is going to result in greater strength adaptations,” said Nathaniel Jenkins, assistant professor at the Oklahoma State University.

For the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology, the team randomly assigned 26 men to train for six weeks on a leg-extension machine loaded with either 80 or 30 per cent of the maximum weight they could lift. The results showed a similar growth in muscle between the two groups but a larger strength increase — roughly 10 pounds’ worth — was found in the high-load group.

Although, low-load training remains a viable option for those looking to simply build mass or avoid putting extreme stress on joints, still, when it comes to building strength — especially amid a busy schedule — heavier is better, Jenkins maintained.

“High-load training is more efficient” and “it’s more time-efficient. We’re seeing greater strength adaptations. And now we’re seeing greater neural adaptations,” Jenkins added.

Love to sweat it out in the gym? Lifting heavy weights can boost your muscle strength

Love lifting heavy weights in the gym? A new study says that lifting heavy weights may help you enhance your muscle strength more than light weight training as the nervous system facilitates improvements in strength during high-load training.

The study aimed to find out how the brain and motor neurons — cells that send electrical signals to muscle — adapt to high versus low-load weight training.

The findings showed that despite similar increases in muscle thickness, high-load training may be superior for enhancing muscle strength than low-load training.

The nervous system activates more of the motor neurons — or excites them more frequently — when subjected to high-load training.

This increased excitation could account for the greater strength gains despite comparable growth in muscle mass, the researchers said.

“If you’re trying to increase strength — whether you’re a gym rat or an athlete — training with high loads is going to result in greater strength adaptations,” said Nathaniel Jenkins, assistant professor at the Oklahoma State University.

Low-load training remains a viable option for those looking to simply build mass or avoid putting extreme stress on joints (Shutterstock)

For the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology, the team randomly assigned 26 men to train for six weeks on a leg-extension machine loaded with either 80 or 30 per cent of the maximum weight they could lift.

The results showed a similar growth in muscle between the two groups but a larger strength increase — roughly 10 pounds’ worth — was found in the high-load group.

Although, low-load training remains a viable option for those looking to simply build mass or avoid putting extreme stress on joints, still, when it comes to building strength — especially amid a busy schedule — heavier is better, Jenkins maintained.

“High-load training is more efficient” and “it’s more time-efficient. We’re seeing greater strength adaptations. And now we’re seeing greater neural adaptations,” Jenkins added.

Regular Strength Training Can Reduce the Risk of Diseases

Resistance exercises or more commonly known as strength training is a form of physical activity. It is a great way to lose weight as these exercises target multiple muscle groups in your body. It helps in increasing your strength and endurance and building muscle mass. Not just this, according to a new study, conducted by researchers from Radboud University Medical Center in Netherlands, performing resistance exercises regularly can help in boosting overall health and lower the risk of developing chronic lifestyle diseases like heart trouble, diabetes and obesity.

The study shows that moderate amount of exercise, just 30 minutes per week, can have many beneficial effects including reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome refers to a group of conditions (biochemical and physiological abnormalities that occur in our body) like increased blood pressure,

high blood sugar, excess body fat, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels that occur together and may lead to the development of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and even stroke. People who suffer from at least three or more of these conditions are known to have metabolic syndrome.

The study found that when generally healthy people performed strength training even for a small amount of time every week (less than an hour), they were able to lower their risk of developing metabolic syndrome by 29% in comparison to others who did not exercise at all. A lot of previous studies have shown that aerobic exercises like walking, jogging, running and swimming can help boost overall health, this is probably the first time that the benefits of performing resistance exercise alone have been assessed.

For the study, the team examined data from more than 7,400 people who took part in medical examinations at the Cooper Clinic in Texas between 1987 and 2006. They were between the age of mid-30 and mid-50 at the time of the examination.

heart

Those who performed resistance exercises for two or more days per week had a 17% lower risk

Researchers found that at least 1,147 participants or 15% of them had developed metabolic syndrome over the follow-up period. But those who performed resistance exercises for two or more days in a week were able to reduce their risk by 17%. Moreover, those who performed aerobic exercises along with resistance training were further able to reduce their risk by 25%.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that a strength training should be performed a minimum of two non-consecutive days each week, with one set of 8 to 12 repetitions for healthy adults or 10 to 15 repetitions for older and frail individuals. The team suggests that resistance exercise should be included in standard medical recommendations to prevent metabolic syndrome along with aerobic exercise which is already a part of the current guidelines. They are planing to conduct more studies on the same topic including the effects of resistance training on heart health and the long-term effects of different types and intensities of resistance training on metabolic syndrome.