by: Nick Lape
Anyone who knows me knows that I love to lift heavy weights. I have fought gravity and won many times. I have also fought gravity and lost just as many; probably twice as often as I have succeeded. If I didn't fail from time to time, I would get bored with lifting weights. Failure allows me to have something to compete with myself for. In my mind and even in the minds of some of my clients, not hitting a lift creates the excitement of, “How far can I push my body?” While heavy lifting should be done in moderation, there are some great benefits to testing your body and making it stronger.
First, there is a myth that lifting heavy weights is dangerous. And while true if done improperly, this belief only increases the fear of lifting heavy. Every time I lift heavy weights, I view it as practice. Put your body under that much stress and your body begins to learn how to move heavier loads, move properly and how to stabilize certain muscles/joints and mobilize others. When all of these things come together, you turn your body into a one-piece machine by connecting your brain with every muscle fiber. But if the brain and the body don’t work together, you put yourself at risk of injury. Now you can read everything above, but the biggest part to take away is the teaching. You are teaching your body how to take on an obstacle that requires the entirety of your body and mind to overcome.
Second, I want to reiterate how competitive lifting heavy weights can be. Both inter- and intra-personally. Being able to compete with yourself can set the bar so high, failure is no longer an option. It's always fun to watch the numbers on your lift card or program card go up. When it happens you begin to wonder what it might take in order to get to the next level. The adrenaline soars when you add a crowd, a weight lifting buddy, or simply someone you are quietly competing with from across the gym. It starts a fire; a fire that can't be extinguished easily by simply lifting alone. Lifting buddies can fuel both your motivational fire and competition.
Lastly, and probably most obvious is sheer strength. If you aren't challenging the body then there is a good chance you aren't getting stronger. When you aren't getting stronger, you aren't building lean muscle fibers and when you aren't building muscle fibers, you aren't revving up your metabolism to burn fat. Lifting heavy things can be the ultimate test of your strength. Now for some disclaimers:
LADIES, I will put this fear to rest: yes, some of you are genetically programmed to gain more muscle mass than others but it is scientifically impossible, without the help of anabolic boosters and an extremely high calorie diet, for you to get bulky. It cannot happen.
GENTLEMEN, if you desire big, attractive legs, arms, back, etc., and you are NOT lifting heavy weights, you are wasting your time in the gym. Physically, you cannot lift heavy everyday but if you aren’t lifting heavy at least 1…maybe 2 days a week, you will get stronger but you will never fill out a t-shirt in the right places.
For years I've lifted heavy weights. I have learned so much from training myself and others. That is exactly how you start heavy weightlifting. You learn. You teach. And you learn and teach some more. If you aren't challenging your body, how can you possibly make it better? You can't! Lifting heavy weights can be fun, competitive, and beneficial to your overall health. If someone says, “But it's dangerous,” reply with, “So is being weak.” Our bodies don't last forever. While we still have the ability, challenging it to do more ( in moderation) is the only way that we find our limits. It is the only way we can learn to set goals in the gym. It is the only way to guarantee that we have a strong healthy body for years to come. That is why we lift heavy things.
Do you want to experience the full benefits of strength training but aren’t sure where to start, intimidated or scared of injury? Nick is a phenomenal teacher and can help you experience the full benefits of lifting weights. Contact him at 314-FORWARD and find out what strength training can do to change your life!