You see guys hit the gym to hit the heavy poundage and pack on the muscle. They work hard and intense and their bodies show it with bigger muscles. What if your goal is not huge bulging muscles but a lean, fast, trim, fit body? Then light weight lifting may be an ideal program for you.
Light weight lifting is not intended to pack on muscle, it is intended to be used at slightly higher speeds to gain aerobic benefits and to stimulate muscles to grow slightly. Your muscle growth can only be as great as the overload you cause on your muscles. Bigger muscles occur when the muscles must grow to adapt to the stress being placed on them by your workouts.
Lighter weights with higher reps do not cause the same style of stress. The stress they cause are aerobic in nature requiring your body to become more efficient at endurance, blood flow, and recovery. These are all excellent benefits if they fit within your goals.
Light weight lifting should be done using the same types of exercises you would do to pack on muscle mass. Squats, lunges, bench presses, barbell curls, and all your other common exercises are great candidates for lighter training.
One mistake many power athletes make is believing they should do light workout in between their heavy workouts. This is a real detriment to the continued growth of their muscles. If you are working to increase muscle size the time between lifts needs to be for resting the muscles to allow them to heal, grow, and adapt.
Light weight lifting is a great activity for older lifters, too. It helps to increase balance and stability. It increases the strength of your small muscles which are responsible for all the minor adjustments to balance.
If you choose to start lifting with lighter weights you need to adjust your repetitions. Doing 20 to 25 reps per set is not out of line. You are creating improvement through higher reps, not the intensity of each rep. This does not mean your workouts will become longer. Your reps need to be slightly faster, too. This helps to stimulate an aerobic response along with helping to reshape your body.
Should a bodybuilder or strength athlete ever do light weight lifting? There are certain times it makes perfect sense. If you have been injured and are just getting started again do light weight lifting for a week or two to get your muscles back in to shape before you start blasting them again. Just do not anticipate this is a method to greater muscle size, it is just a way to get your muscles used to working out again.
Light weight lifting can play many important roles from aerobic training to injury rehabilitation. Choosing light lifting is making the choice you want a different style of body. Your electing to have a longer, leaner, smaller body. If you want to build massive muscles you will still need to crank up the weight, but that is not the goal everyone strives for. Choose your goal and start training to attain your perfect body.