Gym goers keen on building bulging biceps might be tempted to rely on the heavy dumbbells. But researchers in Canada have found that lifting lighter weights for longer time is just as effective to bulk up the body.
The secret is to pump iron until you reach muscle fatigue, reports the
"Rather than grunting and straining to lift heavy weights, you can grab something much lighter. But you have to lift it until you can't lift it anymore," said Professor Stuart Phillips of McMaster University where the research was conducted.
"We're convinced that growing muscle means stimulating it to make new muscle proteins, a process in the body that over time accumulates into bigger muscles," he added.
The study used light weights that represented a percentage of what the subjects could lift.
Phillips found people could lift the heavy weights from five to 10 times before fatigue sets in.
However, study author Nicholas Burd said that subjects lifted the light weights at least 24 times.
The matter hinged not so much on the weight you lift but on the fact that you get muscular fatigue - that's the critical point in building muscle.
"We're excited to see where this new paradigm will lead," said Phillips.
The findings would have implications for people with weaker muscles, including the elderly, patients with cancer, or those who are recovering from trauma, he added.