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Do I Need to Lift Heavy to Build Muscle?

We Asked Trainers If You Need to Lift Heavy to Build Muscle — Here's What They Said

Do I Need to Lift Heavy to Build Muscle?
Image Source: Getty / Jay Yuno

There are a lot of perks that come with lifting weights, such as an increase in bone mass and lean muscle mass, a reduction in body fat, improved cardiovascular fitness, strength, and an enhanced sense of well being, according to a 2006 article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

If losing body fat and building muscle caught your eye, there are a few important things you should know. The first is, yes, you have to lift heavy if you want to build muscle. "Lifting heavy will build muscle because the muscles are being placed under greater stress than [using your] bodyweight or light weights," Felix Ferreira, NASM-certified trainer at Equinox in New York City, told POPSUGAR. "The heavier weights cause more muscle fiber tears, and these tears, once repaired, will cause an increase in size and strength," he added.

Second, the word "heavy" is relative, and the amount of weight everyone should lift to build muscle will vary. As an NASM-certified trainer myself, it's important to let you know that you won't automatically gain muscle by grabbing any ol' weight at the gym. Instead, you're going to have to be very strategic with how often you lift, how heavy you lift, and the style of lifts you're doing.

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