Scientists Find That Lifting Weights Offers No Benefit Over Simply Lowering Them

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You go to the gym, you pack up. But maybe, as the second half of the quote says, the focus should be on putting them down.

According to a recent study by researchers at Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Australia, published in European Journal of Applied PhysiologyThose who just lower the weight can achieve the same results as those who lift the weight at the same time and Lower them, although only half the surface work is done.

This odd finding supports previous ECU research showing that low-rep but regular eccentric or prolonged muscle contractions increase muscle strength and size relative to concentric or isometric (lifting and holding weights, respectively) Best way.

“We already know that just one eccentric muscle contraction per day can increase muscle strength if performed five days a week — even for just three seconds per day,” ECU professor and study co-author Ken Nosaka said in a statement. Cardiac or isometric muscle contractions do not provide such an effect.”

“This latest study,” he continued, “shows that we can be more efficient when exercising and still see significant results by focusing on eccentric muscle contractions.”

For the study, the researchers divided the participants into four groups of 14 people. Three of the groups were instructed to perform only two dumbbell curls per week over a 5-week period, albeit with some variations: one was tasked with lowering the weights, another was tasked with lifting only dumbbells, and the third was both, alternating Raise and lower dumbbells. The last group was the control group and the task was to do nothing (related). For clarity, we'll call them Team Lower, Team Lift, Team Both, and Team Nothing.

The results are clear. While all groups saw some benefit, Team Lift only saw an improvement in their centripetal force. The other two groups, Team Lower and Team Both, are in concentric, eccentric, and Isometric Strength.

However, while Team Both did well, Team Lower performed better in terms of muscle thickness after the trial, with a 7.2% increase in swelling compared to a 5.4% increase for Team Both.

You'd be forgiven for thinking this all sounds so counterintuitive. After all, we literally refer to strength training as “lifting,” and weight room folks often tend to measure success by counting the pounds they can push into the air. However, according to the study, it may just be a waste of time.

“In the case of dumbbell curls,” Nosaka continued, “many people might think that the lifting motion provides the greatest benefit, or at least some benefit, but we found that concentric muscle contractions contributed very little to the training effect.”

That being said, if you really just want to lift something, you do it. But if you want to maximize your time and energy, maybe consider trying to reduce your reps and focus on exercises that emphasize lowering movements. Plus, it's so much easier to do wacky workouts at home!

Nosaka added: “Because only a small amount of exercise a day can see results, people don't even have to go to the gym, they can incorporate wacky movements into their daily routines.”

More on exercise: Scientists find that lifting weights in just three seconds is good for you

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