Decoded: How lifting heavy weights boosts muscle strength

New York, July 10  (IANS) Lifting heavy weights may  help you enhance your muscle strength more than light weight training  because the nervous system facilitates improvements in strength during  high-load training, researchers suggests.The study aimed to find  out how the brain and motor neurons -- cells that send electrical  signals to muscle -- adapt to high versus low-load weight training.The  findings showed that despite similar increases in muscle thickness,  high-load training may be superior for enhancing muscle strength than  low-load training.The nervous system activates more of the motor  neurons -- or excites them more frequently -- when subjected to  high-load training.This increased excitation could account for  the greater strength gains despite comparable growth in muscle mass, the  researchers said."If you're trying to increase strength --  whether you're a gym rat or an athlete -- training with high loads is  going to result in greater strength adaptations," said Nathaniel  Jenkins, assistant professor at the Oklahoma State University.For  the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology, the team  randomly assigned 26 men to train for six weeks on a leg-extension  machine loaded with either 80 or 30 per cent of the maximum weight they  could lift.The results showed a similar growth in muscle  between the two groups but a larger strength increase -- roughly 10  pounds' worth -- was found in the high-load group.Although,  low-load training remains a viable option for those looking to simply  build mass or avoid putting extreme stress on joints, still, when it  comes to building strength -- especially amid a busy schedule -- heavier  is better, Jenkins maintained."High-load training is more  efficient" and "it's more time-efficient. We're seeing greater strength  adaptations. And now we're seeing greater neural adaptations," Jenkins  added.