Do You Have to Train Heavy?

Posted by Jason Ferruggia

Frank K. is a 48-year-old guy who messaged me about Thursday’s email.

He told me that he had some nagging injuries from his years playing football. Because of that, he couldn’t lift heavy if he wanted to.

I told him I didn’t want him to.

When I say you have to get stronger people often misconstrue what I mean. I don’t intend for you train like a powerlifter. The last thing I would recommend is ultra-heavy low rep sets. Especially a workout full of them, like some of the popular programs online today.

That’s asinine.

Even the legendary strongman, Bill Kazmaier disdained that approach. He said:

“Heavy, low repetition work, performed with plentiful rest between sets is not the way to gain quality size. Divorce yourself from this type of notion, and any preoccupation with handling continual maximum weights, be it in singles or low repetitions where weight and not work is the motivator.”

What I mean by “getting stronger” is making progress.

Let’s say you start doing rear foot elevated split squats today for the first time. I have you go down in three seconds and pause for a second at the bottom of each rep.

Ten or twelve reps might be brutal. All you could possibly handle.

But next time you do them you should be able to do another rep. And then 15 reps a few weeks later. And 20 reps a couple weeks after that.

So you’re not “lifting heavy.”

It’s just your own body weight. But it’s brutally hard. And you’re striving to make progress whenever possible.

Eventually, you can hold weights or figure out another way to make the reps harder.

As long as you are getting stronger and progressing over the long haul.

That’s the key to making this whole thing work.

A smart approach to training and a well thought out program like this one:

To smarter training,

Jay Ferruggia