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Yes, nothing in "real life" can match the conditioning achieved through training. As a young man I hauled hay all summer which is very heavy work but still I would be "out of shape" for football season, although in turn, I was still out of shape for wrestling.
I have worked out for half a century and the one thing I learned is too heavy and/or too many reps and you will injure yourself. The corollary to that rule is that consistent exercise 5-6 days a week with lighter weights and fewer reps pretty much gives you the same results in terms of strength and endurance but without the injuries. What it doesn't do as well is muscle bulk/definition AND satisfying that desire to be a superman. In fact it's so easy that it makes you believe it isn't working for you. But it does work.
Yeah, but that's also a way of giving yourself permission to take the easy route. "Don't lift heavy stuff, light weight will work just as well."
That's nonsense, of course. Easy doesn't work (beyond some low threshold). We all know that.
Two things to remember: One, strength is the ability of your muscles to apply force to an outside object, be that a barbell, the ground, a ball, another person, a bicycle pedal, whatever. Two, your body adapts to the stress applied to it.
Therefore, to build strength, you have to move a heavy enough weight to make yourself strong. Lifting light weights, no matter how many reps you perform, cannot make you strong. Doing 20 bench presses with 90 lbs will not make you strong enough to do even one rep at 225 lbs. You'll get good at doing 20 reps at 90 lbs, but that's about it. Once you put in the effort to get to the 225 mark, by lifting 95, then 105, then 115 and so on, those 90 lb presses will of course be easy.
Your argument might work with people who have not done both. You choose the term "easy stuff' to bolster your point presumably because your point needed bolstering. It's a choice, have at it. After years of pushing to see how much I could bench press I finally came to realize "it" was not about health or strength it was about satisfying my inner Neanderthal. YES, you can build strength and endurance with lighter weights while simultaneously reducing injuries. If you disagree then, imho, you just haven't reached that point yet to fully understand that. You will.
I actually did not use the term "easy stuff" and only used the word "easy" because you did ("it's so easy").
I'm turning 60 in a few months and I'm currently squatting 365 and deadlifting 465, both for reps, at a body weight of about 216. Sure, I've had my share of tweaks, but then so have many of my friends who don't lift. But I have the advantage of being strong, while they remain weak.
There is of course a huge difference between working out with light weights, working out with heavy weights, and working out with maximum weights. I just don't think people should be encouraged to take, yes, the easy way, by sticking with light weights.
Do you have an argument against my two points? How exactly do light weights make you strong?
IIRC, Supertraining had a lot of info about which types of fitness decrease the quickest. But they're the ones that take the least time to get back up to par. So for instance, limit strength takes the longest to develop, and it's the most resilient to degradation.
I think either muscular endurance or cardio endurance were the easiest to lose/gain.
Makes sense. Building muscles requires actual structural changes to your body. You're building muscles, after all. And increasing bone density, toughening tendons and ligaments, etc. Your muscle endurance will improve with your strength as well, as each sub-maximal effort requires a smaller percent of your maximum effort, so you can do more of them.
Improved cardio performance is in large part improving the efficiency of existing chemical pathways, nothing new has to be built.
That's why strength takes long to develop but sticks around even after you stop working out. Your body doesn't like to give up those gains that were so expensive to build.
I just had my prostate removed 2 weeks ago, so I'm looking at perhaps another 3-4 weeks before I can start deadlifting again. at 57 there's no way to avoid the deconditioning that will happen, so after pulling 385 the week before my surgery I will start from the bottom again, probably 95 or so an add 5# 3 days a week as long as I can to build it back up. sucks but thank god i was where i was, as i believe it has made the immediate surgery recovery much better.