Did you know that your muscles can not count reps nor knows what weight the dumbbell or barbell is. All it can do is sense the amount of load going through it and the amount of work being done.

My point is people are carried away with lifting a certain weight from point A to point B for a certain number of reps. But is that why you’re in the gym? To move weight from point A to point B? If you’re a strength athlete or powerlifter maybe, but most of us are in the gym to improve our body composition and look better!

Let’s use an example of someone using dumbbell lateral raises to grow their shoulders. They’re using heavy 16kg dbs and swinging it up quickly for 8-12 reps (hypertrophy range right..?). There’s probably about 6kg going through your shoulders, and the rest through your traps, other ancillary muscles, momentum and the elastic strength of your tendons. Not only that, you’re blasting out your goal of 8-12 reps, and probably only got 10 seconds of time under tension.

What if you were to drop the weight to 10kg with perfect form, quality reps and a focus on mind muscle connection? Now there’s probably 7kg going through your shoulders AND you’re getting 20-40 seconds of time under tension. You will grow MUCH more from the 10kg dumbbells with good form versus the 16kg dumbbells. There is also much less stress on your joints tendons and ligaments.

What’s your long term goal? Growing your shoulders quickly (and safely) or getting good at swinging up heavy dumbbells.

Written by Luke Edmunds @eljayedmunds.

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