Do You Need to Lift Heavy Weights to Gain Power?

How much weight do you need to lift in order to gain strength and power? A lot less than you think! Get-Fit Guy reviews the latest research.

Ben Greenfield
1-minute read

Let’s say you want to get more powerful muscles so that you can run faster, jump higher, or perhaps sprint up those stairs a bit quicker when you’re late for work (and who doesn't?).

A recent study entitled “Body mass maximizes power output in human jumping” looked into how you might be able to increase power – and whether you need to actually lift heavy weights to get more powerful. The study used special rubber bands at varying loads to expose the body to different amounts of force, then tested to see which type of load resulted in the most power production. In addition to the rubber bands, the researchers also tested simply jumping unresisted with body weight only.

It turns out that – as you may have guessed by this article’s title – you can actually increase muscle force and velocity (that is, muscle power) by simply using your body weight. As a matter of fact, the study found that the optimum load in maximizing muscle power is simply your own body mass, regardless of the strength of your muscles.

This means that body weight workouts can be effective to get you more powerful, and you don’t actually need to load up a heavy barbell. Here’s a few good body weight exercises to get you started.

Do you have questions about how much you should lift to get more power? Then leave a comment over at Facebook.com/GetFitGuy!

Weight lifting photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.