Lifting Heavy: Don’t Forget About Straight Weightlifting
Of course the arguments against heavy lifting stack up like rainbow-colored bumper plates lining the peripheral black corners of your nearest garage gym.
Consider it. The “I don’t wanna get huge,” the “You might hurt yourself…be careful” and the “I don’t wanna look like her, she’s too big,” excuses banish heavy lifting to the same antiquity Joe Weider’s once forward-thinking fitness philosophies now surely exist in amongst WODers and masculine yogis and their ilks.
Yet, lifting heavy simply belongs in everyone’s regimen, even when workouts and HIIT interval tabatas dominate our current fitness climes.
Because when we lift heavy, we do so many good things for our muscles, metabolism and bones. Separate “heavy” from the images of over-testosteroned dudes in spandex, and think about the moral victory: more muscle.
Heavy Lifting and Energy Systems
Short burst exercise and heavy lifting mimic each other inside your body. Creatine energy systems source the energy needed to perform the more intense and *short-term* exercises in the gym. As we train our body to perform more reps using heavy weight, we also train our bodies to perform more reps in short amounts of time: creatine energy systems fuel these exercises that increase our short burst workouts. In any exercise you perform, even in a long run, you *will*use creatine systems initially. When you train to increase creatine energy systems, your body learns to conserve more energy for your specific workout… like a long run. So, lifting heavy aids in even the most juxtaposed exercise.
You increase your body’s creatine or short burst energy system, by completely depleting creatine stores and increasing their capacity for later workouts.
No Secret Sauce
I wonder how many leaned-out marathon runners’ eyebrow muscles just reached fever pitches here. Truth is, even the more endurance based exercises benefit from lifting heavy, probably at minimums of once per month for maintenance. Runners, yogis, rock climbers, boxers, wrestlers, fit chicks, all women, and cyclists, straight up, you benefit from lifting heavy. Lift to your maximums, or to your two-rep max, for four sets (at most) at 2 to 7ish reps two times per week at most for a few months.
- Increases total muscle activation… you use more muscle during other workouts.
- Increases big muscle size, (type 2x muscle fibers are naturally the biggest). Percentage of type 2x’s determines how “huge” you get, distance runners for example, have lower percentages.
- Adds bone density.
- Increases your ability to be powerful or accelerate/decelerate.
- Helps you burn more fat (raises your base metabolism)
Jog, ambulate or shadowbox…
over to the power rack and load the chrome barbell up with weight that resembles your body weight (upper body) or a little to doubly more (legs) and snugly encase the cold steel in your viced palms. Suck your belly button in to bear hug your spinal column and exhale as you begin a heavy lift.
Try push or jerk presses, incline bench presses, front squats, stiff-legged deadlifts or even bicep curls. With scientifically precise form, knock out seven reps at most. Your heart, now cartoonishly bounding through your sleeveless shirt at bpms in the mid-to-high hundreds alerts you: take a long break because lifting heavy requires no active recovery. Generally, 3:1 rest:work time.
Mix Your Sets
Lifting heavy requires lots of rest recovery, so, instead of repeating the same stuff over again for four sets, you can stretch out the recovery of the muscle groups you just worked by doing another heavy exercise, because again, biologically, the best way to increase creatine usage in all humans, is by using all of our creatine during exercise and recovering as much during rest. So, to work the same system we can do other muscle groups, same energy system work outs…
Real plyo similarly, if done at maximums, demands long rest for the worked muscles. Plyo involve a counter-movement which is short, quick and over-stretches the active muscles, an extremely short pause, then a powerful burst as the over-stretched muscles reach peak tension in movement…. that’s plyometric.
And, the hardest plyo is performed in 30 to 60 seconds… right in meaty part of creatine energy curves.
Don the post apocalyptic-looking weight vest and wrap it around your shoulders, march to the box and start jumping. Or, dig deep for a set of Aztec pushups or even head to the Rope Pull or hand Krank machines. Go for a minute.
Heavy kettlebell moves are both power movements and are intense cardio.
Grab the iron by its frosty throat with both hands, wrapping your 1 to 4 fingers around the handle’s extreme ends in a precision deadlift form with your core and spine more rigid than a corked Louisville Slugger, and chin up. Now that you resemble Orlando Pace before the ball is snapped, reach back and loft the bell into the ether with your hip flexed to max tensions. As the KB works back, and you are jackknifed like a folding chair, unfurl your hips and knees into what becomes standing, snapping your hips hard and, squeeze your butt cheeks like you crave diamonds from the piece of coal stuck inside your shorts. Let the bell levitate parallel with the floor, and hover back down to repeat the process.
*Learn how to swing a kettlebell from an expert person who verbally instructs you first.*
Be a Marine and approach the TRX with a straight spine and legs, facing away from its attachment. Lock your arms out in an incline push up position. Now, either walk your feet back
without moving your upper body so the TRX handles are perfectly perpendicular with the floor, or even behind (!!) the attachment. Descend on to your fists, keeping the handles below your armpits and do under 10 reps of pushups. Or, you can try the pullover in the picture.
The Walk Off
After four sets or four rounds of heavy lifting, you accomplished much in the ways of enhancing your short burst energy. Expect a shorter day in the gym too, considering the intensity of these workouts; another beautiful thing about lifting heavy. Eat foods higher in creatine before your heavy weeks or enjoy supplements.
Either way, heavy lifting means heavy gains and not a massive body. The skinny ectomorph fumbling around with that key fob in the parking lot, glistening in warm sweat beads who looks like they run to work everyday probably just deadlifted three bills: their run is now more of a light jog.
Check out the vid to see the whole thing in action.