The heavy light workout truly works for all body types. Don’t believe it? In that case, you really have to try it out for yourself. We give you a workout plan that will help you test it out.
If you are looking to put on some muscle and change your physique in a positive way, then you have come to the right place. We’ll show you an excellent and effective plan to pack on the muscle and you will do all the work (sorry, we can’t do it for you). Make yourself a promise to begin this plan as soon as possible to start seeing the results you have always wanted.
Stick to it and stay dedicated.
What Is Lifting Heavy?
When you hear the term “lift heavy” this means that when you load your bar or choose your weight, it should have the amount that will allow you to perform about six to eight reps and no more. If you feel like you can do more reps easily, you need to increase the amount of weight. If you feel like you can’t quite get in six reps, then lighten the load just a bit. You may have to work with it a bit to find your sweet spot, but it’s there.
What Is Lifting Light?
This would be the amount of weight you’re lifting that will allow you to do about 12 to 15 reps. Now, when I say light, I do not mean the two-pound purple dummies. No, it should not be that easy. You will actually need enough weight to feel challenged at this point so that you can bring yourself to failure by the 12th or 15th rep, whichever your goal rep is. As stated before, play around with it to find what works for you.
Lifting Heavy Vs. Lifting Light
A lot of lifters tend to believe that muscle size can only come from loading the barbell to the max and lifting one or two times. The fact is that a lot of major bodybuilders successfully do it this way so it obviously is effective. But, it is not the only way to gain size.
Many studies have been done on both the effects of low rep heavy lifting and high rep light lifting.
Even though each side may argue which way is best, both have been proven to stimulate muscle growth and both are effective.
Lifting heavy builds a strong foundation and much overall strength and size in the muscles. Meanwhile, lifting lighter with higher reps and a slow descent will also increase muscle size and strength.
So, why not alternate them or even do them together in the same day for the ultimate mix of awesomeness?
We will show you the plan and give you all the info you need to gain the muscle you’ve always wanted.
This Is What Muscle Fibers Mean To You
There are two types of skeletal muscle fibers. They are called fast twitch, which are the white fibers, and slow twitch. The slow twitch muscle fibers are the red fibers.
During heavy strength training, we mainly use the fast twitch muscle fibers. These are explosively powerful, but they can only give out so much energy. As well, they only do so for a short period of time unlike the slow twitch muscle fibers that take more time to fatigue. These types of muscle fibers are mainly being used in more of an endurance setting such as distance running or swimming.
To grow a muscle to its fullest potential, you would think that both types of muscle fibers should be equally stimulated.
Working Up To Heavy Light Workout
There are two ways you can work a heavy/light plan. The first way is to alternate heavy and light days. The second way is to alternate heavy and lighter weights within the same workout routine.
Both plans are extremely effective and, at this point, it’s all about what your preference is.
I’ll show you both ways and let you choose your favorite. Be sure to follow the plan exactly as it is listed for the best results possible.
Heavy/Light In The Same Session: Weekly Schedule
For this gym routine, you will be doing your heavy lifting exercises first, followed by the same exercises, only using a lighter weight. The idea behind this is to work the fast twitch muscle fibers and the slow twitch muscle fibers for the ultimate stimulation of muscle growth.
Start with a warm-up set. Then, rest for about one minute. From there, add enough weight so that you are only able to do six reps for the heavy exercises. Immediately following the heavy sets, switch to light and continue. Take a one-minute rest before you move on to the next exercise.
Monday and Friday: Legs, Chest, and Back
Leg Extension 6 reps heavy – 12 reps light, 3 sets.
Parallel Squat 6 reps heavy – 12 reps light, 3 sets.
Standing Calf Raise 10 reps heavy – 12 reps light, 3 sets.
Seated Calf Raise 10 reps heavy – 12 reps light, 3 sets.
Dumbbell Flye 6 reps heavy – 12 reps light, 3 sets.
Bench Press 6 reps heavy – 12 reps light, 3 sets.
Front Chin 6 reps heavy – 12 reps light, 3 sets.
Bent Over Barbell Row 6 reps heavy – 12 reps light, 3 sets.
Wednesday and Saturday: Shoulders and Arms
Side Laterals 6 reps heavy – 12 reps light, 3 sets.
Standing Press Behind Neck 6 reps heavy – 12 reps light, 3 sets.
Dumbbell Concentration Curl 6 reps heavy – 12 reps light, 3 sets.
Barbell Curl 6 reps heavy – 12 reps light, 3 sets.
Press down 6 reps heavy – 12 reps light, 3 sets.
Lying Extension 6 reps heavy – 12 reps light, 3 sets.
Wrist Curl 6 reps heavy – 12 reps light, 3 sets.
Reverse Curl 6 reps heavy – 12 reps light, 3 sets.
Heavy/Light Four-Day Split
With this four-day split routine, you will be doing two days of heavy lifting followed by two days of light lifting. Start each workout with a few warm-up reps followed by a short period of rest. From there, you need to get right to it to build huge muscle.
Monday Heavy: Legs, Chest, and Triceps
Barbell Squat – 6 reps, 3 sets
Barbell Bench Press – 6 reps, 3 sets
Cable Triceps Pushdown – 6 reps, 3 sets
Standing Heel Raise (weighted) – 6 reps, 3 sets
Tuesday Heavy: Back, Shoulders and Biceps
Barbell Deadlift – 6 reps, 3 sets
Barbell Upright Row – 6 reps, 3 sets
Barbell Curl – 6 reps, 3 sets
Dumbbell Preacher Curl – 6 reps, 3 sets
Wednesday: Rest Day or Cardio
Thursday Light: Chest, Triceps, and Legs
Leg Press – 12 reps, 3 sets
Leg Extension – 12 reps, 3 sets
Standing Heel Raise – 12 reps, 3 sets
Close-Grip Barbell Triceps Extension – 12 reps, 3 sets
Cable Crossover – 12 reps, 3 sets
Dumbbell Decline Press – 12 reps, 3 sets
Friday Light: Back, Biceps and Shoulders
Barbell Bent Over Row – 12 reps, 3 sets
Wide Grip Lat Pulldown – 12 reps, 3 sets
Concentration Curl – 12 reps, 3 sets
Dumbbell Lateral Raise – 12 reps, 3 sets
Be sure to cool down and stretch all the major muscle groups after each workout session.
Why It’s Important To Cool Down And Stretch After You Work Out
During your strenuous workouts, blood is pumped by the heart and rushed to all the various working muscles. This quickly delivers much-needed nutrients to your muscles for peak performance. If you end a workout by completing the last rep, racking the dumbbells and walking out the door, this could actually mean a lot of extra work for your heart muscle.
During the time of your workout, as mentioned, much of your body’s blood is around all of your working muscles. When you come to a stop without slowing down, this can cause blood pooling in the lower extremities, a drop in blood pressure and even dizziness. Your heart then has to work harder to pump all of that blood back at once.
That’s why it is important to slow down gradually.
These Are Some Proper Cool Down And Stretching Techniques
After you have worked your muscles hard during your workout session, they will be nice and warm. They will also be more pliable. This is a good time to do some dynamic/active stretching until your heart rate returns to near normal. You can even take a few slow walking laps around the gym or place the treadmill on the cool down setting for a few minutes.
After a bit of dynamic stretching, holding a few stretches will be beneficial in more ways than one. While the muscles are warm this will give you an opportunity to gain more flexibility, which can aid in many different exercises and activities that you perform on a daily basis.
Post-exercise stretching can reduce soreness the next day. It will also maintain good circulation around the muscles, which can definitely speed up the recovery process.
Shoulder Joint Stretch – Hold a rolled up towel just in front of you with both of your hands. Slowly raise the towel above your head and over your shoulders. When you have reached your max range of motion, hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then release.
Groin Stretch – Sit down on a mat or the floor and place the heels and balls of your feet together. Place your elbows on top your knees and gently push the knees down towards the floor until you feel the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and then release.
Quad Stretch – From a standing position, reach back and grab the top of your right foot with your right hand. Pull it in towards your butt and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side. You can hold on to a chair or other stable piece of equipment while performing this stretch.
Hamstring Stretch – Sit down on the floor with your feet spread apart to form a V shape in the legs. With your arms extended, reach and grab onto your right foot and slowly pull your chest down towards your right knee. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and then be sure to repeat on the opposite side.
Standing Back Stretch – Stand up and keep your feet about hip-width apart. Hinge at the hips and bend forward until your chest is parallel to the floor. Your arms should be relaxed and hanging straight down. Be sure to keep your back flat. Do not arch or in any way bend your back. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
If you stay faithful to this good workout plan, you’re going to see some major gains. Do not forget that you have to perform each exercise safely and use only the amount of weight that you know you can lift with good form on each rep.
There is really no good reason to perform a rep poorly. I can’t stress enough how important proper form is. This is the point where your muscles are being targeted in a specific way and without unnecessary strain or stress on other parts of the body, such as your spine. So stay aware of your position at all times.
Make the commitment today and get started. The sooner you start, the sooner you will be able to reach your goals. Keep the motivation rolling. Give it everything you’ve got, stay hydrated and do not forget to protein it up after your workouts and you will be well on your way to beast status in no time at all.
By Heather Neff, CPT