All too often I see and hear about bodybuilders getting caught up in the whole “how much do you lift” chat at the gym. For me it’s fairly clean cut – do you want Hypertrophy gains or strength gains?

Now I’m a big believer in compound exercises and lifting heavy weights BUT only if the muscle is under tension for the duration of the set. Too often I see bodybuilders lifting weights using sub standard form because they think that the heavier the weight the bigger they’ll get. I’m afraid that this is wrong. Bodybuilding is not about becoming a weight lifter. As a bodybuilder you use the weights as a tool to increase muscle size and as a consequence you will gain strength. If you want to deadlift or squat for your 1 rep max then you’re using the wrong tool to build muscle. If heavy weight lifting was the best way to increase muscle size then I wouldn’t be a pro bodybuilder. I’m strong but there are many people stronger than me and I have little interest getting my numbers up on my compound lifts as it’s not where I’ve got my best results.

When you go to heavy this happens:

– You reduce the time under tension, because you’re forced to use momentum to cheat.
– You’re unable to lower the weight in a slow, controlled manner, further reducing your time under tension.
– You’re unable to focus on the muscles being worked because you have to struggle just to get the weight up.
– You utilize more muscles, which reduces the accumulated pump in muscles you intend to target.

When we train for muscle size then do this:

– Using strict form.
– Utilizing controlled eccentric (lowering) movements of at least three seconds.
– Mentally focusing on the muscles being worked and squeezing those muscles at the peak of contraction.
– Avoiding fully locking out, so the muscles are under tension throughout the movement.

If you want a pat on the back and for everyone to tell you how strong you are then stick to poor form and lifting heavy weights. If you want to see your muscles get bigger, more developed and then stick to higher reps and time under tension. Simple