We've all heard that lifting weights is great for muscle strength and bone density. But it's not just doing the motions that produces results, it's directing tension into the muscles that ultimately gives you your results.
This might seem like a technicality or just semantics, but it's a very real distinction between having your goal of moving weights versus having your goal of producing tension in certain muscles.
You might've heard the old saying of don't put the cart before the horse. This, of course, was probably coined back when they were using horses and carts not cars, but it still rings true.
The "horse" is your muscle contraction. The cart does not go anywhere without the horse, and likewise the weight does not go anywhere without the muscle contraction.
The reason why it's so important to remember the contraction first is because when you are so focused on the range of motion then there's a chance that you could use the wrong muscle in order to achieve that range of motion.
There are two main ways in order to prevent yourself from “putting the cart before the horse." The first is to shorten the range of motion, and the second is to use less weight.
Using less weight and shortening the range of motion will both allow you to focus on the targeted muscle, as opposed to trying to do more reps, more weight, or faster movements.
Ultimately it does not matter how much weight you lift. You'd be surprised if you looked at some weightlifters to see that sometimes the scrawniest looking person can lift the most weight, and the person with the best looking and most developed muscles doesn't really care how much weight they lift.
Really, it's up to you. There are three main reasons for embarking upon any health and fitness program in the first place. You can be trying to look better, feel better, or perform better. This blog post mainly is going to appeal to those of you who want to feel better and don't want to be debilitated from your workouts.
So the next time you lift weights, keep in mind the principle that muscle tension moves the wait. It's not about lifting the weight at all costs. In my opinion, there's too much risk of injury when you approach weightlifting in that way. I think most people really just want to lift weights to look good and feel good.
Good luck with your weightlifting endeavors. If you need help and you are a beginner, I have created a program called Beginner Weightlifting. Click here to get more information about this program.
Until next time, if you have any questions about health and fitness, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.