Is it true that lifting heavier weights is for bulking up and lighter weights is for toning? I am afraid of getting too big!
The first thing to realize is there is no such thing as “toning”. Tone refers to the tension on a muscle at rest. Everyone has tone, but each one of us has different amounts of muscle on various parts of our bodies.
When lifting weights, you either build muscle or not. Lifting a light weight for fifteen repetitions, then stopping short of momentary muscular failure, achieves nothing. To make any improvements on muscular gain, you must train intensely with heavy weights.
The key is to perform an exercise with enough weight that prevents you from lifting it in perfect technique. The amount of repetitions to achieve muscular failure can range from 8 to 20, under the assumption it takes approximately three to four seconds to perform each rep.
Most women have a very difficult time adding muscular size due to their limited supply of the hormone testosterone. Some women do gain a significant amount of muscle, but the percentage is very low.
Bulk refers to the size around a section of the body. It is a combination of bone, muscle and fat. Countless repetitions will not make you muscular and lean. The load or weight is what gets your muscle fibers activated.
The “all or none principle” indicates when a muscle fiber is activated. For example, if you lift a pencil, you only need a few muscle fibers in your arm to do it. However, if you lift a fifty-pound weight, you need many fibers to accomplish the task. The key to muscular development is to activate many muscle fibers, exhaust them, and then allow time for recuperation. Lifting progressively heavier weights ensures plateaus are avoided.
Never fear gaining too much muscle. First, it is not easy get. After the age of 25, most people begin to lose muscle every year. If you happen to be one of the few people gain muscle easily, simply lift lighter weights to maintain the muscle you already have. In my opinion, it is always a good idea to maintain as much muscle as possible for the future. When you are older, it can help you. You will have an easier time getting around independently, without the use of canes, walkers or wheel chairs.