The heavy vs. small weights debate

Friend 1: “Lift light weights and do more reps.”

“How many reps?”

30 reps. It builds lean muscle, and you won’t get injured. Also with heavier weights you get big. Smaller weights make you ripped.”

Friend 2: “Lift heavy with fewer reps”

“How many reps?”

6-8 reps. Builds muscle and less chances of injury. Smaller weights just give you a cardio workout. If you want to look like a whiny model, then that’s fine.”

Da faq!

Unfortunately, this conversation has been going on….FOREVER!

Here’s what a bit of research says:

Both are great, if you lift the weight till muscle failure.

Now what does that mean? (It means the debate is pointless)

Size was equal as long as muscles were pushed till the absolute last rep. Strength gainswas better with the group that lifted heavy. Duh.

Lifting heavy means better bone strength, which is cool. But also means the joints are under immense stress, so form is critical. None of the ‘lift heavy to show off in the gym’ shit.

Lighter weights means more calories burned (calories, not fat loss) as the muscles take a shorter time to recover between sets. Meaning you move more, as opposed to lifting heavy where you have to rest more for the muscles to recover.

But don’t expect unrealistic strength gains right after a body pump class. Would you become filthy rich after reading a book on investing? Perhaps that’s the wrong analogy…


The key is what do YOU like?! If you love throwing weights around do it! If you prefer sweating a group workout, then that’s fine. Yoga? Sure.

Or if you want to run butt naked through a field, that’s completely OK too (although consistency is important). The most important thing is that you move, and that you love that shit.

Fuck the narrative. Fuck the noise. You do you.