Light Weight High Reps - Horrible Advice For Increasing Muscle Tone - FitMole
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Light Weight High Reps – Horrible Advice For Increasing Muscle Tone

72 Comments | Training

What do the following 2 things have in common:

1) Lifting light weights for high reps will increase muscle tone

2) Taking penis enlargement pills will make your penis bigger

Well the answer is that they’re both flat out lies. We want to believe they work and only use them because we’re told so by so-called “experts.”

But in the end, lifting lights weights for high reps is not the answer for muscle tone. In fact, it’s quite the opposite as I’ll soon reveal.

And for all my female readers out there, I’m sorry I had to drag penises into the conversation. But lets face it, penises are funny. And no, I have never used penis enlargement pills (we all know those are a scam).

Miranda Kerr has very nice um…. muscle tone

Lifting light weights for high reps only pumps up your muscles

If you’ve ever lifted light weights for high reps, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Whenever you lift weights in this matter, the only thing that happens is that your muscles get a really good pump.

This is why guys love to do endless sets of dumbbell curls for 15-20 reps, because it gives them a pump and makes their arms look extremely tight and muscular. But this is only temporary, and only happens due to the build up of blood and lactic acid in your muscles.

This pump will make you look leaner and more muscular than you actually are. But after about 1-2 hours, that pump goes away and your back to looking like normal. Sound familiar?

So how do I get more toned?

The only way to increase muscle tone and definition is to lift heavy weights.

There’s really no other way around it.

But I don’t want to get bigger, I just want to get more toned

I hear you. But lifting light weights like a little pussy isn’t going to make that happen. So how do you increase muscle tone permanently without getting bigger? Just follow the strategy below:

  1. For any exercise, pick a weight that you can only lift for 6 reps. No more, no less.
  2. Lift that weight for only 4-5 reps. Stop 1-2 reps short of failure.

So for example, let’s choose an exercise like the bench press. If you can lift 135 pounds for 6 reps, then you would only do 135 pounds for 4-5 reps. This will allow the muscle to contract harder since you’re lifting a heavier weight, and the harder your muscle contracts, the more muscle tone it will display.

And by stopping short of failure, it will be very hard to induce any sort of muscle gain.

Will this work for women too?

Absolutely!

It doesn’t matter if you’re a man, woman, or dog.

Lifting weights in this manner will work either way. This is especially great for women if they are aiming to look slim and feminine and not overly bulky.

This is different than what you read in magazines

If you read magazines like Shape or if you watch shows like The Biggest Loser, then lifting weights in this manner is going to require a leap of faith.

But if you truly want to build an impressive looking physique, then you need to sculpt your body, and the only way to sculpt your body is by lifting heavy weights every now and then.

Do you lift light weights for high reps or do you go heavy? Let me know below.

Vivian - August 10, 2015

I’m sick of this “women should lift heavy and won’t get bulky” nonsense!! As a mesomorph body type, I can gain muscle by sneezing. I’ve followed the lift heavy advice, got really thick & unfeminine looking. Worst part – none of my clothes fit!!

If women don’t get bulky, why do Crossfit chicks look so scary?

Reply
    Keith - August 11, 2015

    Depends what you mean by “bulky” also depends on your body fat levels.

    IF you find yourself getting too bulky, don’t lift till failure.

    But I never ever recommend the typical lift 5 pound dumbbells for 20+ reps.

    Reply
      Vivian - August 11, 2015

      Bulky = muscles sticking out, protruding, clothes fitting tighter, arms & thighs increasing in size & weight gain. I can do 25-30 pound bicep curls for 6 – 8 reps. Squatted 100 pounds. It made me so thick I couldn’t cross my legs! Didn’t tone, didn’t help me lose weight.

      Reply
        Michael Esuabana - August 11, 2015

        @disqus_0jvZIMLF8r:disqus you do not need to conform to public’s trends on what is feminine. DO what makes you strong, feel good, and happy.

        Reply
          Vivian - August 17, 2015

          Best body I ever had was a ton of cardio, little to no weights, tons of soup, veggies, and small amounts of protein. Size 1 fit so beautifully. Now I cannot get rid of all the thick, disgusting mannish muscle I’ve gained since I’ve followed this BS advice running amok in the fitness world.

          Reply
          Keith - August 17, 2015

          if you’re happy with your body, awesome. Keep doing what you’re doing.

          But to say all women should just drop weights is quite ignorant.

          Reply
        ALi - June 30, 2016

        body weight training and not increasing your body weight is the key to muscle tone and you gotta do high reps, I had shredded muscles when I was a teen by just doing tons of pushups (200 reps per set), squats (200 reps per set), pullups (50 reps per set), chinups (same), without using any weights. (actually, my dumbbells were only 7kg that I used for dumbbell curls, so they don’t really count).

        Reply
Keith - August 19, 2015

It really depends on a woman’s definition of “bulky” and what is “scary” or not.

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Nate - September 11, 2015

I have to say this is complete bull, Are you supposedly an expert? I hate to sound like a d-bag because I’m not trying to come across that way but

1. You can increase muscle tone with high reps/low weight. It just may take longer than your used to.
2. There is no ONE perfect type of exercise? ever hear of muscle confusion? your body adapts to a single familiar exercise so if you want more tone you HAVE TO SWITCH IT UP.
3. If you only lift heavy your entire life you will notice all kinds of weight gain, not just muscle mass but fat as well. Those low rep days are also essential for keeping fat body mass down.
4. Work on your goals, Some people want to be Big Bulky, Others Lean Muscle, Some Explosive Exercises, Some Plyometric, Some Isometric, The list goes on with goals vs types of workouts for those goals.

So please don’t try to tell people there is only one type of exercise to get to that one goal.

Reply
    Keith - September 12, 2015

    1. to a certain extent, at some point you need to increase the amount of weight you’re pushing.
    2. You’re body will eventually plateau in terms of strength but it doesn’t make any singular exercise obsolete. Muscle confusion is largely a marketing gimmick.
    3. What!? How do you gain weight by lifting heavy? That makes no sense. You gain weight by eating too much.
    4. Ok I sort of agree here. Train for your goal. The problem is there’s large amounts of overlap between “big bulky” and “lean muscle.” You typically have to gain some amount of bulk before you get lean.

    Reply
      Nate - September 12, 2015

      I can agree to some things however

      1. I never said you cant increase your weight, You should have a goal of the amount your doing strength or endurance. Once you surpass that you go higher. Also depends on training style because I know that pyramids are a common training technique for people.

      2. The only thing I don’t like here is muscle confusion is a gimmick, my professions is in this realm and there is something we call the training effect: your body adapts to how far you push it. I’m not saying you cant do the same exercise over and over either without seeing results but I myself have seen good results (faster) from changing exercises vs. sticking to one. Once again everyone has different goals and switching it up also keeps most people from getting bored of exercising.

      3. Muscle mass is heavier than fat, when you do gain large muscles you gain weight in that aspect however this type of only do this exercise makes people very hungry but on the upside the more muscle someone has the more calories it burns a day, in my experience people just often over compensate for this exercise. Just a little more elaboration for everyone because I can see how that comment is confusing. Thus the comment in 1. “at some point you need to increase the amount of weight your pushing” Of course people will be stuck on they’re exercise if they cant increase. Strength or Endurance.

      4. True, you sort of intertwined 1 with 4 here. Example: Lets say someone’s goal was to bench 70LBS with 100 Reps once they reach that 100 they would go up to 75 so on and so forth, so they are still increasing the weight and increasing muscle mass its just some people are impatient and would rather do more weight with less reps.

      Reply
        Keith - September 12, 2015

        2. muscle confusion is periodization. That’s it. The term muscle confusion is a gimmick and marketing trick.
        3. Muscle is denser than fat but strictly in terms of weight it weighs the same. A pound is a pound. A pound of bricks weighs the same as a pound of feathers, there would just be a crap load more feathers. Not sure where you got the whole “more muscle makes you hungry” thing.
        4. C’mon let’s just be practical. 99.9999% of people don’t train with the goal of hitting 100 reps on bench press.

        Reply
Nate - September 12, 2015

All of this is wrong.

2. I already explained this.
3. Pound is a pound that’s true. Muscle is denser that’s true. That speaks for itself. People can weigh in as much as a heavier person with more muscle mass and not look nearly the same. More muscle makes you hungry buddy, Think of muscles as a parasite, THEY NEED FOOD!!!! Take care of them and they take care of you. I believe its something along the lines of each pound of muscle eats up 15 extra calories an hour. Make sure they are healthy calories.
4.Depends on your goal, People who do the opposing of what your talking about in your goals Strength. I have seen many a time Endurance goals reaching 100.

While I thank you for brushing me up on my basic knowledge on this I would say your kinda just digging yourself in a bigger whole with every comment. :/

Reply
    Keith - September 12, 2015

    2. i already explained this too.
    3. Please provide evidence of the “15 cal per hour” number.
    4. This post has nothing to do with endurance. I’m talking strictly strength and how it affects the way you look.

    Reply
Nate - September 12, 2015

Congrats all of these comments have just proven you know nothing in this area of expertise. This is another site online giving false info to people who have actual goals.

3. Do you really think you can increase your size without there being many different biological chemical reactions? Your Metabolism can change due to this. Let me guess you never even heard of calculating your basal metabolic rate before have you? If you have this would not even be a question.
4. Nice dodge, It looks more like how strength is the only way to increase muscle mass and that’s just not true.

Reply
    Keith - September 12, 2015

    3. You didn’t provide evidence of the “15 cal per hour” number. I’m not dodging anything, I would like to hear where you got this number please.
    4. Strength (progressive overload) is the ONLY way to build muscle. 2 most common ways are to push more weight or increase reps. But after a certain point, like doing 100 reps, it’s sub-optimal for strength and muscle. At that point you’re just working on endurance.

    I’m curious, what do you believe are reputable fitness sites?

    Reply
Nate - September 12, 2015

3. I did provide evidence, I implore you to look into this yourself before posting, Then post and tell me your findings. You will find the answer among the question. Hell maybe even talk about this with your fitness coach at you gym. We learn something new everyday.

4. As I said before there’s goal differences and more than one way to increase mass. (“progressive overload”) Can work in more ways than just weight. Most common however is pushing more weight and having a endurance / split when ready to cut down.

Reply
    Keith - September 12, 2015

    3. That doesn’t answer my question. I’m asking you to provide evidence of the “15 calories per hour”. Where did you get 15 from?

    Reply
The unknown lifter - September 20, 2015

One of the most poorly written misleading things I have ever read on this subject.

Gyms are full of people who follow who lift heavy all the time. After years of following this kind of worthless training advice they will be stronger, but they have poor endurance, no stamina, and much higher levels of body fat than they want.

A quick browse around here looks like the everything is written by a rude punk that doesn’t know what he is talking about and needs to grow up. Look elsewhere for fitness advice, this is not the place to get it.

Reply
    Keith - September 20, 2015

    Not sure why you’re so mad…

    This article isn’t about building endurance or stamina 🙁

    Reply
    Nate - September 21, 2015

    And can get hurt but yeah that’s exactly what I was saying. It’s worthless trying to get through to some people though.

    Reply
    John - January 13, 2016

    I lift heavy and have done so for over 20 years. I’m 42. 5’9″ 168 lbs. Bench 250. Squat 275. Can run a 50k cold. 5K time 21:15. Am totally toned and have tons of stamina. I take no supplements besides occasional vitamins and minerals. Every exercise is three sets: 10-12 reps, 6-8 reps, 3-5 reps. Increase weight when top rep is attained to a weight where lower number is attainable. Nutrition and nutrient absorption are the keys to toning. Identify and correct nutrient deficiencies. Cut out foods that cause sensitivity reactions (inflammation).

    Reply
    ALi - June 30, 2016

    If someone wants stamina, they gotta work on stamina and not muscle tone and this article is all about how to tone your muscles.
    I do kickboxing for endurance and add some short term jogging + jump roping and farmers walk with dumbbells for endurance.

    Reply
wuzupman - November 23, 2015

Well lifting heavy is what gave me better results than light weights.
I like to add that I do 8_10 reps but i rest 2 seconds between each reps and it works great now the bulking part is mainly on your diet.

Reply
Abovedarkness - January 19, 2016

Man why can’you people just get that everybody body different stop telling people you know the right way when you don’t . You only know what works for you. This is coming from a guy that lifts high rep low weight I only rest few seconds between sets and im ripped and totally content with my body thank you

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MIke - February 24, 2016

There’s actually a ton of information out there now and various studies that have turned the “High weight low reps” paradigm on its head. Recent studies have consistently shown that lifting light weight is just as effective for building muscle PROVIDED YOU GO TO MUSCULAR FATIGUE (failure). Studies have shown that even sets of 25 build just as much muscle as sets of 6, if done till failure, and if progressive overload is implemented (increasing the weight with which you can do 25 reps over time).

Reply
    Mike - February 24, 2016

    Just throwing it out there for people who are discouraged because they have an injury/joint issues that preclude lifting heavy weight – you can still gain muscle just fine with lower weight and higher reps.

    Reply
    Dmitri - July 15, 2016

    Well doing light weights until failure is going to build you muscle, but not as well as heavy weights with low reps.
    Anyways it does build so if there are people out there that don’t have the heavy weights they can still build muscle.

    Reply
jeffrey - June 9, 2016

I liked this article on strength training and i have increased my strength more than i have expected . Good one man.

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George - October 11, 2016

I agree with building strength base and progressive overload is number 1 priority but IMO that’s for your main compound lift mostly. You still need some light or moderate weight for certain exercise like side literal raise or triceps extension or calve raise. Therefore I wouldn’t say lifting heavy is the only way cus theres place for a bit lighter weight such as doing isolation work. That’s how I train 🙂

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Cam - February 19, 2017

Hmmm.. Over ten years ago now, all I owned was a couple of dumbbells. When I was using them, back then, they were only around 8kg a piece. I used to do 1 long set of up to 50 or so reps doing hammer curls. The pump I got was substantial. After a few months of these, my arms were pretty big, all the time. I would throw in some occasional shoulder presses, so my tris were getting a little too. As a caveat, I was on medication at the time and probably eating like a horse, so in a calorie surplus. I am not convinced that high rep low weight can’t work. It may not build tone like it’s supposed to, but it can add size under the right conditions, at least in my subjective experience.

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Jamie - February 22, 2017

I’m 57 and I incorporate a mix of training. Long distance running, cross training, sprinting, cross fit, heavy weight, low weight, body weight….you get the picture.

IMHO while I agree with the article, I also believe you need a variety in your training in order to be well developed in both muscular endurance, size and overall fitness. Probably the most important factor of course is diet.

Cheers and may you all live long and prosper.

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Jan - August 29, 2017

I wouldn’t write off higher rep routines as useless, because every person responds to different stimuli. But I agree that heavy weights are a way to go, at least in my case. It seems to me that lifting heavy (or, at any rate, for up to 9 reps, which is not technically superheavy) burns more calories. For that reason I use it even when I diet for those single digits body fat moments.

Reply

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