T Nation

Heavy and Light???

I have worked out on and off through out the passed couple of years, and have seem some relatively OKAY gains. But now that I am back, someone has just told me that I should not lift heavy every time I do a muscle group.

For instance, my schedule goes like this:
Monday and Thursday:

Tuesday and Friday:

Wednesday and Saturday:


On these days, I bust my ass. I always do a warm up set for each, (like 10 pounds), this is just to ensure form. But I have lately seen a lot of exercises which do a muscle group twice a week, but instead of busting ass, they do one heavy and one light.

So, if I am getting back in (just finished week two), should I be pounding it out every day or going HEAVY and the light?

I am just searching for some objectivity - there is so much crap out there

Well, I have heard of that, and a lot of people think it’s more beneficial than going heavy all the time. Instinctively, I think it would be better. There may be some science behind it, but nothing I could explain to you - since I don’t know it.

This going all from memory, but I think people feel it stops you plateauing as often as you would if you were just going heavy all the time. I remember one old time strongman’s routine was:

Monday: Medium
Tuesday: Optional
Wednesday: Light
Thursday: Optional
Friday: Off
Saturday: Heavy
Sunday: Off

Optional days would be where you do Light work, or less than that. Light being 60% of max effort, Medium being 70-80% of max effort, and Heavy being 100%.

There was another old strongman who did a Medium/Light/Heavy workout pattern, but just on different days basically. I’m sure there were many others too.

The only thing I can suggest is to do heavy all the time, if you start stalling, or your gains are going really slowly, you could try and light/heavy thing and see if that pushes you past, then continue with that and monitor the results.

The light/heavy thing would give your body more chance to recover, so that would be helpful. I’m pretty sure it’s a good idea, but I have nothing to back that opinion up, as I said previously, instinct tells me it would be, and that’s unfortunately all I have.

I’ll be following this thread as I’m interested in seeing if anyone has some decent explanations they can give you as to why this might be a good/bad idea.

Beginners can and should go heavy often, simply because they need to get stronger. Once there is more weight on the bar, there becomes a limit to how frequently you can lift “heavy” without it wearing you down. That’s why people periodize their intensities. You have to find your OWN limits and recognize when going heavy every time will set you back.