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Heavy weights unnecessary for building mass? (new study)

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Easy to read ScienceDaily article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100811125943.htm

Difficult to read study: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100811125943.htm


The only real drawback I see is the relatively small sample size (15 men). What does everyone think? I know German overload/volumetric training seems to work well for quite a few people, but I doubt powerlifters do lots of light weight sets, and they seem to do well too...

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Operative word is fatigue. When you lift really heavy shit, your fast-twitch, high-threshold fibers fire. When you lift light weights, you are using a greater percentage of slow-twitch fibers, which don't hypertrophy that much. If you lift light weights to failure, you cycle through fibers throughout the set until your high-threshold fibers have to be recruited. That is why people can lift in the 20-30rp range with DoggCrapp and get strong and big as shit from it. A 30rp set, for example, would be 15 reps to failure, rest for 15 breaths, 7 reps to failure, rest for 15 breaths, then 4 reps to failure. This guarantees that you are going to blast the hell out of your fast-twitch fibers. It essentially "simulates" higher loads. You don't have to rest-pause for this effect; one straight set will hit your fast-twitch fibers near the end of the set.


German Volume Training is a form of density training, which means that you basically keep hitting your muscles with a lighter load, with short breaks, until they become fatigued and reach deep into your fibers. If you can tolerate the volume and make weight progression on it, it can be a great way to get bigger. I personally respond to volume like shit, and am better off with higher intensity, low-moderate volume. Most others do as well.

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I find this whole mass and strength development lark puzzling. Lots of things seem to work.


I saw a television programme about slavery in the US. They examined the skeleton of a woman slave. She had huge muscle attachments on her thigh bones. They concluded she had done a lot of squatting down to lift heavy weights.


Another telly programme examined the skeletons of Roman gladiators found in Yorkshire. One had one arm longer than the other as well as it being more muscled than the other. They said he must have started gladiator training whilst he was still growing. They didn't explain why one arm was longer. Another gladiator had had very well developed leg adductor muscles and his legs were slightly bowed. The conclusion was that he had been riding horses since childhood and had had to grip on tightly with his legs.


Yet another telly programme (I watch quite a bit of telly) examined the skeleton of a knight who died in Scotland about 700 years ago. They did a computer reconstruction of his body. His right arm and shoulder were noticeably more heavily muscled than his left.


I saw something (yes, on telly) about the Mary Rose Tudor warship. Some of the skeletons were deformed. It's thought they had been archers and had practised since childhood. One side of their bodies will have used massive force to push the bow and the other side will have used force to pull the bow. The bows probably had a draw weight over 100 pounds. They will have done a lot of pushing and pulling each day.


Tennis players usually have one forearm that is much thicker than their other arm.


All these people will have used their muscles for hours each day. Every day or most days of the week. Little rest. Some used heavy weights and some used light weights. No doubt they were all very muscular and strong.


I prefer heavy-ish weights.

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