More and more women are taking up bodybuilding, whether in gyms or at home. And that’s a good thing, because the benefits of resistance training are numerous and widely proven, as the Ministry of Health states: This discipline allows you to increase your strength, gain strength, endurance and flexibility. you can even improve cardiovascular health. But when it comes to the “best” exercise plan, it’s easy to get lost in all the suggestions available. One question in particular often arises: Should you train with heavy loads or light loads to gain muscle mass? So, what will be the number of sets to be performed, considering that the heavier you “carry” the shorter they will be and vice versa? A recent study appears to provide the most comprehensive answer yet; The most important factor in gaining strength and muscle is regular resistance training, regardless of specific details such as number series and dumbbell selection.
Also discover: Gaining strength: Muscle-building advice from a sports doctor
Motion scientists from McMaster University are at the origins of this discovery. British Journal of Sports Medicine HE “ Whether you use heavy or light weights, lifting them as many times as possible builds strength and muscle. The details of how to do this are less important than getting into the habit. » After examining the most popular variables among resistance training programs—how much to lift, how many times, and how often—they all proved beneficial compared to no exercise at all, including bodyweight exercises like planks, lunges, and push-ups. . “ There are a dizzying number of factors and combinations to consider when creating a program to maximize strength and muscle growth. »Professor Stuart Phillips explains. ” HE It’s an age-old debate: Which combination produces the best gains? » Their study involved reviewing 192 studies totaling more than 5,000 people.
“It doesn’t have to be complicated”
The scientific team began with the observation that most fitness experts believe that using only the heaviest weights that can be lifted three to five times is the best way to build muscular strength. It is the best method to build 10 times muscle volume. Digging deeper, researchers found that training programs that included multiple sets or heavier weights were most effective for increasing muscle strength, while programs that included both multiple sets and heavier weights were best. But when the goal was to build larger muscles (what scientists call hypertrophy, an increase in the size of muscle tissue), choosing how much weight to lift wasn’t as important. Instead, researchers found that multiple sets (the number of repetition cycles performed) and more than one training day per week had the greatest impact in this area.
Also discover: Sports: cardio or weight training?
Additionally, researchers have explored the concept of “training to failure,” which means doing as many repetitions as possible until a person can no longer continue, as a way to build muscle size. Interestingly, they found that this generally did not make a significant difference when it came to “average” lifters (the results did not hold true for more advanced lifters). Another notable finding concerned the “minimum effective dose,” or the minimum amount of lift needed to achieve results. . They found that for strength gains, at least two sets or two sessions of resistance training should be performed per week, while for hypertrophy, the minimum effective dose was at least two sets and two sessions of resistance training per week. So, if the goal is to get “stronger,” the focus should be on lifting heavier weights for at least two sets per week, or multiple sets with at least two workouts.
If the goal is to gain muscle mass, it would be appropriate to focus not on the choice of dumbbells, but on the frequency of training, always increasing the intensity gradually if you are starting out. “ Our analysis shows that every resistance training prescription results in gains in strength and muscle mass. Simple programs are extremely effective and the most important result is that people can benefit from any weightlifting program. If you’re not sure where to start and how to proceed, ask for advice, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. », Professor Stuart Phillips confirms this. The researchers say the analysis is good news for anyone, regardless of age, who wants to gain strength and maintain more muscle mass (important elements for preventing injuries, maximizing mobility and optimizing metabolism). “ The biggest variable to control is compatibility. Once you understand this, you can worry about all the other subtle nuances. », recommends in conclusion.