Heav­ier Reps Make Stronger Mus­cles. Full Stop.

SHAPE (USA) - - Strong + Fit -

“If you want to op­ti­mize the amount of strength you’re build­ing, then train­ing with lighter weights won’t cut it,” says Nathaniel Jenk­ins, Ph.D., an ex­er­cise sci­en­tist at Ok­la­homa State Uni­ver­sity. “You’ll need to in­clude heavy-load train­ing, at weights of at least 75 per­cent of your one-rep max.” His re­search found that ex­er­cis­ers who lifted heav­ier weights to fail­ure for three sets of low reps and those who lifted lighter weights to fail­ure for three sets of high reps saw sim­i­lar changes in mus­cle size. “But heavy lift­ing caused greater in­creases in strength,” Jenk­ins says. That’s be­cause heavy loads more ef­fec­tively stim­u­late your mo­tor neu­rons, cells that send elec­tri­cal sig­nals to mus­cles. As a re­sult, you’re train­ing your cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem to gen­er­ate more force from your mus­cles. And you’ll feel that strength bonus in ev­ery­thing you do, from tak­ing HIIT class to schlep­ping heavy bags. Level up now with these moves from Radan Sturm, the founder of Liftonic stu­dio in New York City. Start with a set of weights that is a lit­tle heav­ier than what you’re used to. If you’re still able to do the last four reps at the same speed you did the first eight, go for more weight next time. And stick to the ex­pert tips on these pages—they’ll keep you in great form as you work your way to a new per­sonal best.

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