Whether you’re an athlete looking to step up their game, a fitness enthusiast, a health nut, or someone who simply enjoys working out, at some point you are going to need to do some heavy lifting. Now to start off, “heavy” is a relative term. What is heavy for some may not be heavy for others, but that’s okay! Every body is built differently and will adapt to strength training in different ways. However, there are so many adaptations that come from lifting heavy weights that are beneficial to the human body. Let’s dive in!
One of the big rewards for lifting heavy weights, is the increase in bone density. When lifting heavy weights, your bones are stressed by the load placed on them. In return, your body will recruit more bone-forming cells called osteoblasts along with calcium, to build more bone tissue. In return you will now have denser and stronger bones! With the increase in bone density and the strengthening of the muscles around the bones, we are now less likely to get injured due to things such as falls.
Another great reason to lift heavy weights is because your body will develop a better skill for motor recruitment and rate coding. In other words, your brain gets better at telling your body how to move! When lifting weights, your sympathetic nervous system is triggered. This is your “fight or flight” response to the stress placed on your body. In order for your body to respond to this stress, your brain needs to tell your muscles to “FIRE!” so you don’t just collapse on yourself like a marionette puppet. As we get stronger, our body and brain get better at this response. In turn, this helps with things such as balance and coordination.
The last benefit I’ll discuss is also my favorite; when lifting heavy weights you can also build muscle! Now, before we get carried away thinking we’ll end up looking like the Hulk, let me explain that it doesn’t work like that (especially for women). Building muscle takes a lot more than just lifting heavy, but it is a key factor. When lifting heavy weights your body must recruit the larger muscle fibers that can handle the heavier load. This also signals specific muscle building hormones in the recovery process. So lifting heavy weights can help increase muscle mass!
There are so many benefits and reasons to lift heavy. I know how it can be, walking up to a barbell thinking “why am I doing this? This is HARD!” But I hope I have given you some insight as to WHY we train heavy. So, next time you’re thinking about it, keep these benefits in mind, and lift some HEAVY SH*T!