Let’s face it, there are a million reasons not to lift heavier weights in class. Maybe you are just not feeling it, but more likely than not, you’re scared to go outside your comfort zone. Just like there’s a million reasons not to grab that heavier weight, there’s a million reasons to commit to leveling up.
Most of us have fallen prey to that dreaded plateau where you’re putting in the work, but just not seeing the results you once did or are expecting. The reason for this is simple, the body responds to stimulus, and when you lift heavier weights, you’ll shock your body into increased strength.
There are a ton of physical benefits to lifting heavy weights beyond just what you can see (i.e. the actual muscle definition). You can increase the strength and power of your muscles by adding lean mass. With an increase in muscle, your body burns more calories even when your resting.
While strengthening your muscles helps with joint support, you can also improve connective tissues and bone strength by adding more weight which allows you to move safely under load and can help prevent injury. This equals improvement in intramuscular coordination which will increase your overall strength. Stronger muscles mean better performance no matter what you’re doing be it a cycle45 class, walking your dog or carrying your groceries. As for the things you can’t see or even feel, weight-lifting has been shown to reduce your biological age, increase anabolic hormones and can reduce blood pressure.
Heavier weights can be intimidating but taking it one step at a time can help relieve some of that anxiety and replace it with a big dose of confidence. Next time you’re in class, here’s how you ease into lifting heavier:
- Grab two sets of weights – what you normally grab and the size above it; start with the heavier weights and use them until you reach your threshold then grab the lighter set
- Begin to lift heavier weights sets for lower body & back work – these are big, strong muscles groups and can take on heavier sets, so start here
- Break down the movement when you’re going heavier: try lifting one at a time for bicep curls, etc.
- Make sure you’re engaging your core throughout your sets, especially as you level up: this will give you more support & help prevent injury
No matter how many reps you do as you begin to level up, you just did more than you would have without ever having tried. The next time, you’ll be able to more reps (I promise).
Lisa is a cycle, HIIT & barre instructor in both Lincoln Fly studios.