Over the last years heavy barbell training has become popular again among natural bodybuilders. Some even say that heavy lifting makes you “grow like a weed“. This misconception results in thousands of people attempting heavy weights and killing their joints in the process while, of course, failing to acquire more muscle mass.
Unfortunately, for natural bodybuilders, heavy lifting will not help you overcome the shortcomings of being natural.
It’s really amusing to go the gym and contemplate the red faces of naturals who perform biceps curls like there is no tomorrow. It gets even better when in between sets the dreaming natties admire the posters of popular bodybuilders used as decoration in most gyms. That admiration seems to be making most natties even hornier, for the lack of a better term, because the following sets are usually even closer to death. As they say:
Then comes the post workout nutrition rituals. Bodybuilders are afraid to even lift a fork without having a protein shake prepared as a recovery drink. They would rather die than get catabolic. Consequently, one gets to observe all kinds of protein cocktails.
Heavy Lifting Truly Sucks For Most People
We’ve said it many times – for ordinary people maxing out is a loss, not a gain. The whole idea of testing the maximum weight you can lift is flawed. Why would you won’t to know how much you can lift unless you’re competing in an ego contest? Singles don’t make you stronger nor do they help you grow. Repetitions work better and are much safer. Maxing out is just a show. Nothing more. If the weight you can lift for 5 reps is increasing, your one repetition maximum is increasing too.
Heavy Lifting Is A Scam. Sorry.
In the beginning of my journey in the realm of muscle and iron I wanted to always lift as much weight as possible.
I was looking at those around me and thinking that they were all a bunch of cowards who only train for the girls, and can’t do much besides arm curling on the cable machine.
Well, I was right about that but I was not aware of the fact that I was doing the same thing just with the opposite approach – trying to impress the girls by being a hardcore motherfucker who lifts heavy and puts as many plates as possible on the bar. It turns out that this is an expression of the same thing – stupidity.
After a few injuries and some more years of experience I got it all figured out – heavy lifting is a scam just like all the supplements. No, lifting super heavy weights won’t somehow make you synthesize more testosterone.
I don’t see a need for anyone to do sets of 1 anymore. Sets of 5 and occasionally sets of 3 seem to be perfectly fine and in many cases even that is not needed. You can certainly increase your strength by just doing sets of 8.
Crossfit Mentality: Puking Is Good
As we’ve said many times people are not saving the world by lifting weights. What will save the world is serving truth, not trying to flatter your ego by posting pictures on Facebook about how exhausted you’re from lifting weights.
Nobody seems to get it. People are still pumping hardcore songs from the Rocky soundtrack through their ear buds and behave like they’re fighting some kind of a demon during their final set of squats. Sometimes this causes serious technique errors but that doesn’t seem to matter because finishing the lift is more important, even if it looked terrible.
Unfortunately or not, the real world couldn’t care less. However, that very same real world actually gets the memo when your knees buckle in during a heavy squat and when your shoulders scream for mercy after а 5th consecutive bench press max for the last three days.
That’s because the only way we communicate with the universe is through action and what we do remains the only thing that counts in the end.
The Answer Is Somewhere In The Middle
If your goal is to simply build muscle mass, doing reps under 5 is absolutely not needed unless your routine is part of a system that focuses more on total workload rather than sets and reps.
If you goal is strength, performing sets of 3 is also the lowest you need to go before maxing out in a competition. Usually people are able to do between 10-30 lbs over their 3 reps maximum. This depends on the exercise and the individual.
Bottom line: Maxing out does not build strength. It tests it. Lifting moderate weight with good form is where it’s at. Get strong, safely!