Should you lift light or heavy? There's a lot of conflicting research surrounding this. A study came out last year saying you can get the same outcome from lifting light weights as you can from lifting heavy ones, as long as you do more repetitions. The added benefit is a lighter load on joints, which is great for longevity. But new research out of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln contradicts this notion. The results of this study suggest that lifting heavy loads leads to greater muscle gains than lifting light weights at high repetition, which could be because when we lift heavier weights, our brains send electrical signals to the muscle that the body is working hard, leading to greater strength.
"If you're trying to increase strength—whether you're Joe Shmoe, a weekend warrior, a gym rat, or an athlete—training with high loads is going to result in greater strength adaptations," said study author Nathaniel Jenkins.
So, should you lift heavy? Here's what the experts have to say.