15 Reasons Why You Should Lift Heavy Weights

Enrico Fioranelli
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You should lift heavy weights. As a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), I’ve heard all the excuses not to lift weights. Some common ones include:
 
Wait, but I don’t want to be the Hulk.
 
Who on earth needs to lift heavy weight anyway?
 
But, the weights are too heavy for me to lift!
 
You won’t become the Hulk – he needed gamma rays to transform into his massive size. And weights are heavy for a reason – to help you develop dense, lean muscle. Everyone benefits from lifting heavy weights, from geriatrics to teenagers. Regardless of age, size, shape or goal, lifting heavy weights has benefits for you.
 
When you lift heavy weights, you are pushing your muscle to fatigue and muscle soreness. The result is a hypertrophic state, in which your body builds muscle. While you are in this state, you will experience more benefits than just muscle soreness and growth. If you are not experiencing muscle fatigue and soreness after lifting weights, then you are not lifting heavy enough weights for your body or your capabilities. If this is the case, increase the amount of weight you lift until you are feeling sore after lifting, but not so much that you will cause injuries. Take it easy and play it smart. If you don’t know what is safe ask a trainer. A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t maintain proper form, the weight is too heavy.
 

Here are 15 reasons why you should lift heavy weights:

 
1. Change Takes Effort:
Nothing changes unless you give it a reason to change. The definition of insanity is to repeat the same task and expect a different result each time. How can you expect your body to become lean and muscular if you don’t put in the effort? Your body will adjust to the stimulus that you give it. If you lift heavy weights, your body will develop muscle.

2. Burn More Calories:

This is a simple formula. The more muscle you have directly relates to the more calories you burn, both during that workout and for three days thereafter. Yes, when you lift weights, you don’t just burn immediate calories, but you will continue to shed fat and calories for days and days! Your treadmill cannot say that!
 
3. Change in Body Composition:
There are a couple of factors that make up our body weight. When you lift heavy weights, you will see an increase in your bone density, an increase in your muscle mass and a decrease in your fat density.
 
4. Build Core Strength:
When you lift heavy weights, you have to engage your core muscles in order to lift the weight. Some of your best core conditioning exercises are basic strength training exercises done with heavy weights.
 
Suggested read: 5 Basic Principles of Strength Training
 
5. Lose More Fat:
When you lift heavy weights, you create a higher caloric demand at rest, when the majority of your calories are coming from fat. Lift heavy weight to burn more fat! It is true that some powerlifters have what they refer to as a “power gut.” Believe it or not, this is a personal choice and preference. If that powerlifter followed a stricter diet or any diet for that matter, they would not have the excess fat in their midsection.
 
6. Develop CNS Recruitment:
Your Central Nervous System (CNS) is comprised of a bunch of neurons that attach your brain to your muscles. Simply put, it takes more brain power for you to lift heavier weights than if you were to lift lighter weights.
 
7. Vascular Clearance:
In order for you to be able to lift heavy weights, your body needs oxygen. The oxygen runs through the cardiovascular system, and this vascular clearance aids in heart health. The increased blood flow will establish what is known as vascular clearance, which is where blood flows so strongly that it clears a lot of the bad stuff that is in your veins.
 
8. Look Like a Badass:
Especially if you are a woman, you will stand out if you lift heavy weights. You know that when you lift heavy weights you look and feel more like a badass. Go pump some iron, curl those dumbbells, and make it count!
 
9. Strengthen Your Knees:
It is an absolute truth that lifting heavy weights, particularly when squatting, will cause your knees to strengthen. When you apply larger forces to an area, you will strengthen that area. There is some truth in that old adage that what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger. While it is true that if you attempt to lift too heavy of a weight you can hurt your body, by pushing your body towards its maximum capacity, you will strengthen your joints and protect that delicate tissue, which is great for aging with grace!
 
10. No Lower Back Pain:
While improper form can hurt your lower back, lifting heavy weight can strengthen your overall core muscles and develop the area surrounding your spine. There are a few lifts that will help target your lower back (e.g. deadlifts and kettlebell swings), but generally speaking if you lift heavy weights, you’ll have to activate your lower back to lift the weight. If you strengthen that area, you will have larger muscles to assist in supporting the pressure around your back. If you apply the appropriate workloads to your lower back, you can kiss any current or future back pain goodbye.
 

 
11. Protect Your Body:
Imagine that your body is a suit of armor, where every component adds to the stability of the entire system. If you lift heavy weights, you are increasing the stabilizing component to your suit of armor. When you lift heavy weights, your body has the capacity to sustain the heavier loads that you are applying to it. Essentially, the more weights that you lift, the stronger your suit of armor will become.
 
12. Improve Your Body:
With greater force comes greater improvement. Your body will adapt to the forces you challenge it with. By lifting heavy weights, your body will be better at lifting heavy weights. Your body is capable of a lot. Whether or not you are currently active, your body is an ever-evolving system and always has the capability for doing more. By pushing your body towards its limits, your body will improve as well.
 
13. Longer Lasting Results:
When you do heavy weight training, you are causing permanent change to your body. If you were an athlete or participated in weight training in the past, you will notice that your body will adapt and respond much quicker. This is because your central nervous system remembers how to lift the heavy weights that you previously did. Still, progress slowly – gradual adaptation is the key here. If you were to look at the elderly population, you will notice substantial variation in those that lift or lifted heavy weights as opposed to their counterparts. Studies have proven that senior citizens who lifted heavier weights will be more mobile, have higher levels of energy, and will have less fat and cases of osteoporosis.
 
14. Runner’s High:
Yes, you read that right! That sensation that you get from running that fifth through ninth mile is the runner’s high, and you can experience a similar effect in weight training. With weight training, you will experience this overall sensation of lightness and joy. When you are applying force to the weight, you will feel lighter the second you put it down. Furthermore, your same endorphin release that occurs during longer distance runs also occurs when lifting heavy weights.
 
15. A Sense of Accomplishment:
When you do something that you haven’t been able to do for a while, or maybe never before, you will feel great about doing it. This is one of the most rewarding things that you can do for yourself. When you lift heavy weight and track the weights you are lifting over a period of time, you will be amazed how much you can accomplish and improve. Feel proud of your increased weight intervals. You worked hard for that accomplishment and deserve a pat on the back.
 
Always remember to start off slowly. Perpetually focus on your form and breathing during any weight lifting workout. Know your limits and break them always, but in a smart and focused manner. You can do anything you set your mind to. If you are lifting weights and pushing your body beyond what you ever thought possible, it doesn’t mean your body will turn into a freak show. Lift heavy weights for your power, performance, physique and long-term health!
 

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Enrico Fioranelli

Enrico is a personal trainer and certified strength and conditioning specialist, who has helped students, housewives, and Division 1 athletes achieve the results that they desire. Enrico is an all around athletic guy who is indiscriminate in his workout style of choice, from yoga and Tai Chi to mixed martial arts, strength training and running. He commits himself to lifestyle that includes healthy eating, no alcohol, and a 3-mile walk each morning his puppy in tow.

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