The Weightlifting Technique That Will Change Your Body

POPSUGAR Photography | Benjamin Stone
POPSUGAR Photography | Benjamin Stone

Ever plan to go to the gym and stop dead in your tracks because you just don't know what to do? Maybe your goals are too broad? Maybe you're expecting too much? How can you really lose weight, gain lean muscle, and build your dream body with just one simple workout plan that doesn't require you move into the gym for the next year? Clearly, you're expecting too much from your efforts, right? Wrong! There is a way to reshape your body by losing fat and gaining muscle without spending countless hours in the gym. What do you have to do? Lift heavy weights to create lean muscle and lift light weights to promote fat loss. The best part? You can be in and out of the gym in less than 30 minutes each day. Here's how!

The heavy and light strength-training plan combines a couple of the most fundamental principles of lifting weights. The intention is to do an exercise for four sets with a heavy weight and low reps (up to six) and then another exercise that targets the same muscle for four more sets with higher reps (up to 12), but with a lighter weight. According to personal trainer Brian Pankau, CPT, you need to take "two to three minutes of rest between heavy [sets], and 45 to 60 seconds between lighter sets."

How does this plan work? When you lift heavy weights your muscles fatigue and ultimately grow (you won't look like a bodybuilder — we promise). From there, you work the same muscles with lighter weights to totally exhaust them, which burns more calories, creates a leaner body composition, and increases endurance. Muscles grow, body fat decreases, and you're only doing two exercises per body part. According to Anthony J. Yeung, CSCS, with this plan, "you'll burn more calories, shed fat, add more strength, and feel more energetic in daily life."

As a result of this significant caloric depletion, certified personal trainer and owner of Micah Lacerte cautions that, "Nutrition will play a big role in what sort of results someone will get performing this plan, but if they are on [the proper type of diet], then this style of training will be excellent for building lean muscle." You have to make the effort to eat six small meals each day that all include some form of protein — with specific care to ensure you're getting protein before and after you work out.

While this plan can definitely work, it may not be for everyone. Pankau believes that while "fat loss is going to occur, [it may] not be fast enough for somebody with too much excess fat, so this plan is great for light and medium builds, but not really meant for heavier-set people."

What does this mean for you? For tight and toned triceps, a good combo would be overhead triceps extensions with a heavy weight and triceps kickbacks with lighter weights. For leaner, more sculpted legs, do leg presses with a heavy weight, and lunges with light dumbbells at your sides, or no added weights at all! For stronger, tighter biceps, heavy hammer curls and light preacher curls. The key is to do two moves per body part, one heavy, one light as described above. This will exhaust your muscles, promoting growth while leaning out your body. If you're in average shape, you can look way above average in less time. If you're in good shape, you may want to move to a beachfront property soon. Enjoy!

POPSUGAR Photography | Benjamin Stone