The Misconception of Lifting Heavy

“red and green barbell on rack” by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash

I’ve lifted weights for over 10 years now. I’ve never had any injuries except maybe a few tweaks here and there, but nothing I couldn’t fix with a day of rest.

I’ve studied movements as a strength coach, taught kids how to powerlift, and used heavy weight to make kids better athletes.

I have friends who are physical therapists who agree with me wholeheartedly on the idea that lifting heavy in the compound movements is useful and necessary if you want to get bigger, stronger, and faster.

So, I always get a certain “tick” when I hear that “veteran” guy at the gym who has no scientific knowledge of anything telling people they don’t have to lift heavy; or better yet, that they’re going to get INJURED doing certain lifts.

These lifts usually include the squat, deadlift, oh but not the bench because they love to overuse that one.

The usual argument with the squat is, “You’re going to mess up your knees squatting that low, and the bar is going to hurt your back!”. Little do they know, that’s not true. They would know if they had ever looked into anatomy and movement, but they just know what some guy told them back in the day. Usually the same era that recommended cigarettes for weight loss *shrug*.

If you mention deadlifts, just be prepared to get crucified because deadlifts are believed to be the worst thing to happen to gyms across America. “BUT YOUR BACK!” Just no….

I once had some guy ask me what the point of lifting heavy was. Keep in mind I really wasn’t going heavy is retrospect. He just felt inclined that he needed to come “weight” shame me because he was older than me. That doesn’t always make you wiser though. He seemed to think it was all ego, when he actually had no clue what a linear progression was, or the concept of supercompensation. I wasn’t going to waste my breath on a science lesson, so I just let him have his moment — but he’s spreading the wrong gospel to gym goers.

The same people saying these things about all of these lifts and going heavy are the same ones who have some kind of nagging injury due to overuse of machines. They have so many lagging muscles due to way too much isolation, that things just don’t work properly. A chain is only as good as its weakest link ya know.

There is literally nothing wrong with these lifts nor going heavy.

What matters is HOW you do them.

Yes, surprisingly there is a right way to do everything. That’s why people like me — coaches — exist. To help guide and usher individuals to the correct squat and deadlift forms; oh and even bench press.

Do you know when injuries occur? They occur when you don’t do the lifts right. When using proper mechanics you can lift as heavy as you want, given you have built the necessary strength. I often think that these “safe lifting” zealots are just jealous that they can’t do that much weight so they feel they must convert those who are actually strong.

I could go deep down the scientific rabbit hole of how to properly do these movements, but just YouTube or google it. Read/watch more than one source to get an idea of what you need to do, and then slowly apply it!

Learn the movements, slowly progress, and don’t listen to some joe at the gym with a huge chest, rounded shoulders, and chicken legs. I mean think about it, these lifts have been utilized for YEARS without any issues. More issues arise from non traditional lifting than does the golden oldies! Lift smart, lift heavy, and get strong peeps.

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