Lift Heavy (Yes / No)

One of my biggest pet peeves is definitions.

In order to have a proper debate, or even discussion, you must properly define the words you are using.

If the meaning is vague, the discussion is pointless.

This is one of my biggest issues with the advice to "lift heavy".

What does this actually mean? Are we talking about "a great weight; hard to lift or carry" or "a great amount, quantity, or size; extremely large; massive"?

In other words, heavy for whom?

The advice to lift heavy often leads to people choosing weights that are too heavy for them, risking injury, poor form, and thus lack of results.

What the word heavy SHOULD BE is a reminder to challenge yourself, to choose a weight for your exercises that while "doable" is perhaps a little uncomfortable.

It also should be a reminder that the entire point of weight training is to challenge yourself to put forth a high amount of effort in a very controlled environment.

After all lifting weights is NOT just picking up heavy things. If anything it’s picking up things that feel heavy to you, but doing so properly, and often multiple times, in a controlled manner.

[[ Really we should be saying "lift strong". ]]

When you view weight lifting as challenging yourself to put forth a high amount of muscular effort in a very controlled manner then you can see why it is good advice, whether you are 15 or 85, new to lifting or a vet in the iron game.

And why, even if you have to modify exercises to work around your limitations, and even if the weight you are using is only heavy to you, it’s still a good idea.

The last decade worth of research has shown us that the actual load, the absolute weight being moved, is far less important than we once thought.

Research has also shown us that the amount of reps we complete is also not nearly as important, and the idea of different repetition ranges having different effects on your muscle is also outdated.

No matter which weight you use, and no matter how many reps you are aiming to complete, at the end of the day the goal of weight training will always be to get a little bit stronger in a controlled fashion.

You still have to get stronger mind you, but you stronger for you.

The challenge and effort in a controlled setting is what is important, it’s what causes change.

Lift the weight that is right for you, in that specific exercise, at that specific time.

This is how Progressions is designed, as a way to normalize effort, to give you one very specific number to use to track your progress. This allows both weight used and repetitions completed to be variables to play with, and a way to keep you seeing progress without injuring yourself by trying to lift too heavy too soon.

You can check out Progressions here —> Progressions