Lifting heavier weights don't mean bigger muscles

It was reported that a Malaysian student died when he lost control of a barbell due to fatigue (Malaysian student dies after 108kg barbell falls on his neck in gym; Oct 6).

Trying to push the body to the limit, if done repeatedly, can cause fatigue.

Losing too much weight too quickly can also make a person tire easily. It is advisable not to shed more than 1kg per week.

I am now 70 years old and have been training with weights since I was 14.

I have observed many young men struggling to lift weights. Sometimes, they have someone helping them.

Some people have the mistaken belief that they need to lift heavier loads to make the muscles work harder, so as to make them grow bigger.

But how are the muscles able to work if they cannot handle the weight? What more if someone else is helping them to hold it?

As a gym instructor for more than 10 years, I have been asked how much weight one should lift to train the muscles.

I would say that it depends on each person's strength.

For bodybuilding, it is best to work with weights that one can lift without help for sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.

Sng Ah Beng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2017, with the headline 'Lifting heavier weights don't mean bigger muscles'. Print Edition | Subscribe