4 Reasons Why Heavy Weight Lifting Does Not Lead to Bigger Muscles

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Contributor: Ashton

Have you ever walked into a gym and felt intimidated because of people lifting weights that are five times heavier than the ones you lift? Surely, these people would look a lot bigger and stronger for any newcomer in a gym. If you’re into bodybuilding, I’m sure you can relate at some point.

To beginners, it would seem that the key to getting bigger muscles and gains is to lift heavy weights as much as they can to start the process of bulking up immediately. As it turns out, this is a well-known bodybuilding myth, just as “bigger and faster muscle growth is what happens if you lift weights every day” is. Lifting weights is a sure solution to bulking up but there is more to it than it seems. The question is whether lifting heavier weights results in more muscle growth. Let’s find out why.

Fat percentage

The amount of weight being lifted does not directly relate to muscle growth. Fat percentage is the key to bigger muscles – it is what makes the body look bulky. The burning of body fat is not necessarily connected with the increase of muscle mass. A person who does lighter weights regularly can also achieve bigger muscles, similar to those who try to bulk up by lifting heavier weights. It is also a myth that women should not lift heavy weights because they will gain more muscle (i.e., become bulky). Mostly, people with a higher level of fat percentage are considered bulky. Fitness trainers assess a person’s muscle tissue and fat tissue to determine the body composition and to be able to provide health recommendations. According to Isaac Robertson of Total Shape, the ideal fat percentage increases as a person gets older. Hence, it is necessary to be mindful of your fat percentage and your goal body physique. 


Diet is important in muscle building just as your workout routine is. The proper exercise regimen must go hand in hand with a proper diet to achieve your aim of having bigger toned muscles. As your body undergoes workouts, the muscles will need a huge amount of proteins to rebuild broken muscle fibers and replace these with stronger muscles. Calorie intake is especially important when it comes to bulking up. The amount of calories taken per day will gradually increase as the workouts become more intense. With the right amount of calorie intake, paired with a diet plan that involves a lot of food that provides protein, muscle-building will become a lot easier and the results will show faster.

Number of reps

The number of reps (short for repetitions) refers to how many times a single exercise stunt or act is performed before taking a break. In bodybuilding, the number of repetitions is vital in the development of muscles as this number can affect how muscles develop strength and size. Most people would assume that more repetitions will mean more gains but there is a specific combination between the magnitude of the weights and the number of repetitions. By standard, lighter weights mean more repetitions and heavier weights mean fewer repetitions. A common reason why beginners are slow to develop muscles is that they are not doing the right amount of repetitions that is needed for the respective magnitude of their weights. 

Workout style

The manner and order in which an exercise regimen is performed matters greatly on muscle building as well. There are different workout styles such as aerobic exercises, strength training, and balance training. Aerobic exercises such as cardio workouts and jogging are great exercises for developing stamina, endurance, and circulation but are not meant for muscle growth. Balance training is for developing a sense of balance and improving core strength and doesn’t really have a major impact on major muscle groups. 

For making muscles bigger, strength training is the recommended exercise because it uses weights to apply resistance to the muscles on the limbs and back and it causes them to break past their limit and this pushes the body to rebuild stronger muscle fibers which result in bulkier muscles.

Not only the weight of the objects lifted matters in muscle building and toning, but also the fat levels, diet, and workout routine elements. These factors should be well-maintained so that you can successfully achieve the body physique that you desire.

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