Some personal trainers feel there’s no difference between light weights vs. heavy weights for toning. Others say there’s a huge difference. What is the general consensus? Most personal trainers tend to agree that if you do as much work by doing more repetitions on lighter weights and fewer reps on much heavier weights, you’ll build muscle tissue and boost your strength. However, it’s not just the amount of muscle tissue you build, but the type of muscle tissue you build.
The amount of weight you use determines the type of muscle you’ll build.
Heavier weights enhances the amount of muscle-growth hormones released and the amount of fat-burning hormones. While light weights help burn off fat and toning muscle, heavier weights help build them. It’s even better when you use explosive movements. While it’s nearly impossible for women to build those bulging muscles men have, since hormones prevent it, you’ll get toned and more defined muscles when you lift heavier weights with fewer repetitions.
It’s the twitch that counts.
Muscles have two fiber types, one is slow-twitch and the other fast-twitch. The amount of exertion in your workout makes the difference in which type of fiber you activate. You need more explosive power for heavy lifting and that is done with fast-twitch fibers. The slow-twitch fibers are activated for muscle endurance, like lifting more repetitions at lower weights. You need both types of muscle tissue, but the amount of each, depends on whether you’ll build bulk or just tone.
If you want to burn more fat to expose those beautiful toned muscles, do fast-twitch workouts.
The heavier your weights, the more body fat you’ll burn, not only during the workout, but for hours afterward. They require more calories to lift because they have a heavier load. These types of workouts access fat stores in the body by boosting the fat-burning hormones. Those hormones continue for as long as eight hours after done. Slow-twitch continue to burn calories, but for only about an hour.
- If you’re a woman, don’t worry. You won’t change into the hulk, so either type will get you toned fast, but fast-twitch and heavier weights will help burn more calories, too.
- Lifting heavier weights can help you when you’re doing quicker movements, like jumping or sprinting where more explosive power is necessary. Slow-twitch, from light weights, help with cycling and long distance running.
- You’ll build more muscle tissue in a shorter period of time with heavier weights, which means you’ll boost your metabolism. The more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you need for maintenance.
- When time is short, heavier weights might be your go-to workout. It takes less time, since you don’t do as many repetitions.