Study Shows How Lifting Weights (Quickly) Can Lead to Longer Life
A new study shows how weightlifting, and particularly quick, repetitive lifting, can lead to a longer life.
Professor Claudio Gil Araújo, director of research and education, Exercise Medicine Clinic — CLINIMEX, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil said: “Our study shows for the first time that people with more muscle power tend to live longer.”
Power depends on the ability to generate force and velocity and to coordinate movement.
In other words, it is the measure of the work performed per unit time (force times distance); more power is produced when the same amount of work is completed in a shorter period or when more work is performed during the same period.
Professor Araújo said: “Power training is carried out by finding the best combination of speed and weight being lifted or moved.
“For strength training at the gym most people just think about the amount of weight being lifted and the number of repetitions without paying attention to the speed of execution. But for optimal power training results, you should go beyond typical strength training and add speed to your weight lifts.”
Professor Araújo noted that this is the first time the prognostic value of muscle power has been assessed.
Previous research has focused on muscle strength, primarily using the handgrip exercise.
The upright row exercise was chosen for the study because it is a common action in daily life for picking up groceries, grandchildren, and so on.
How to train to increase your muscle power
- Choose multiple exercises for the upper and lower body
- Choose a weight with the load to achieve the maximal power (not so easy to lift and not so heavy that you can barely lift it)
- Do one to three sets of six to eight repetitions moving the weight as fast as possible while you contract your muscles (slow or natural speed in returning to initial position)
- Rest for 20 seconds between each set to sufficiently replenish the energy stores in your muscles to start the new set
- Repeat the above for the other exercises (biceps curl, etc.).
How to progress
- Start with six repetitions in each set and when the exercise becomes easy, try to increase to eight
- If it becomes easy again, increase the weight and go back to six repetitions
- If you unable to complete the repetitions with the proper technique, avoid “cheating” and go back to less repetitions or less weight. This is important to prevent injuries.