If you want to build twice the muscle, you need to start including elements in your training where you use half the weight. In this video, I’m going to show you how to build more muscle mass with lighter weights. This is not just about lifting light however. Instead, it is about working out with heavy weights and light weights at the same time. Let me explain.
The technique shown here is called offset loading. I demonstrate it on some of the more popular exercises like shoulder presses, side lateral raises, bench press, tricep extensions, dumbbell curls and lunges. The key concept is that you want to use dumbbells of differing weights to perform your sets. In general, you choose the heavyweight (that is equal to what you would use for your 8-10 rep max on the exercise) and a lighter weight (equal to half of what the heavyweight was).
The focus then becomes on how you move these dumbbells through space as you perform each of the exercises. The first obvious benefit of this, however, is the effect this will have on your core. With one side being much heavier than the other, your core muscles will have to contract strongly to keep your body upright and not tilting to one side. This occurs even on the exercises that you are laying down on like the dumbbell bench press.
This is just the bonus, however, since the major focus here is on using this lifting technique to build more muscle. So, the next option you have is in how you are going to lift the weights. In general, you have three choices. You can either lift the lighter weight at a slower speed to keep pace with the heavier weight or lift the heavyweight at a faster speed to keep up with the faster-traveling lightweight. Each of these will have a different impact on your training that you will want to be aware of.
First, let’s discuss the lightweight moving slower. This is great for when you want to teach your muscles more control. Muscular control and command is a key element of hypertrophy. It not only demands more time under tension on the working muscles but it is an asset that pays dividends in hypertrophy as witnessed with the legs of a male ballet dancer or Olympic gymnast. Both of these athletes represent the epitome of muscle control.
By having to slow the lighter weight down, you are forcing your body to become more deliberate the muscle contraction occurring in the target muscle.
You can opt instead to attempt to move the heavier weight at more explosive speeds, to that of the lighter dumbbell. This is an incredible way to tap into more Type II muscle fibers and work on the fast twitch fibers to elicit hypertrophy and muscle gains. When you add the element of increased speed of contraction, you are working on power. The more powerful you become, the stronger you get and the bigger you get in almost every instance. Try this if you aren’t accustomed yet to training for power and you will notice a quick burst in size gains.
The third option is one where you can get very deliberate with the movement of the weight to isolate and burn out the target muscle. This involves taking what would have been your lighter weight and making it your “heavy” weight and then cutting that weight in half to become your lightweight. Here you perform each of the exercises listed above with a very slow pace and a very defined contraction.
You’ll be amazed at how heavy a weight starts to feel when you use this technique. The cool part is however that you will find that due to the neurological wiring of our bodies, the heavier weight can be taken along for the ride and lifted with this same level of effort just by lifting them together. You can see this demonstrated on the side lateral raises and then applied to any of the exercises.
The key is, when you want to build muscle faster you have to use some different training techniques and get serious about your workouts.