Everyone knows that you should be lifting heavy weights to help build stronger muscles. The general slogan, ‘Go big or go home,’ was created to exemplify the idea that you have to lift massive poundage to get massive muscles. Looking at the biggest bodybuilders in the game when they workout, you can see they are hefting giant weights and not training their muscles by lifting what an average person does.
But they can handle it.
Look again as they lift those massive weights. How do they lift them? Are they heaving things around using momentum and awful form? Or, are they using their very strong and powerful muscles to lift the weight properly and work the muscle.
Check the Ego
A big problem for many lifters is that they workout with their ego and not their muscles. They take that mantra of going big or going home too seriously. Instead of focusing on lifting what they can handle with great form for low reps they try and manipulate things to add more weight than they should. Showing off this way serves no purpose. In fact it is rather harmful and very detrimental.
Your muscles are only going to truly grow if they are actually working. Yes your chest, triceps, and shoulders do get somewhat of a workout when you are bench pressing 50 pounds more than you can handle by bouncing the weight off your chest and using the rebound plus a massive pelvic thrust to get the weight up two or three times. But that is nothing compared to the actual work those same muscle would get if you took 75 pounds off the bar and did slow, smooth, controlled repetitions to absolute failure.
On top of that, nobody cares what you lift.
Range of Motion is King
Performing an exercise properly means you are targeting it for the entire exercise and working it through an entire range of motion. This means more muscle fibers are being used which helps create more growth. When you sacrifice that range in an effort to use more weight you are also sacrificing growth and building new strength.
Let’s look at the leg press as another typical example. Many people load up as many plates as they can fit on each side and then end up lowering that weight 6 to 12 inches. Congratulations, your hips and upper things just got a slight workout. But you are only touching on part of the muscles that should be getting worked. Also since that is a common occurrence those muscles are not getting any stronger in that range of motion.
When these same people warm up with only a few plates on the machine they actually do the entire range of motion which typically results in the glutes rising up off the pad a bit and their knees touch their chest. Why not work that range more and get the muscle bellies growing as well? The quadriceps run from the knees to the hips, not just 5 inches below the waist; work it all!
Copy the Pros
Really if you want that big, powerful physique like the pro bodybuilders then you need to train like them. They know that form is a critical key. Yes, you can occasionally cheat to work past a sticking point, but not every time. Also proper form helps prevent injuries to your joints and other areas which then slows down your training and opportunity to get bigger and stronger even further.