Selen Dar

Muscle-Building Workout and Diet

What’s going on, guys? Sean Nalewanyj, and in today’s
video I want to talked about the topic of super heavy “ego lifting” versus using
lighter weights with slower more controlled form and which one is better for stimulating
muscle growth, because you’ll hear a lot of debate on this from both sides. So before going any further keep in mind that
we’re specifically talking about hypertrophy here and this is aimed at people whose primary
goal in the gym is to build muscle. So, if your goal is strength based and you
just want to move as much weight as possible from point A to point B, or you’re training
for athletic performance then that’s a different story, we’re talking specifically about
improving body composition here. Now, the issue that I see with a lot of these
types of questions is that people usually want a black and white, clear-cut answer. It’s either one or the other, probably just
because it’s easier to process and maybe also because people like to feel, sort of,
like they’re part of a certain camp. It’s like a bodybuilding identity thing. So it’s either, “I do hard heavy lifting,
heavy lifting is the only way to go.” or, “No, the amount of weight in the bar is
completely irrelevant and it’s all about mind-muscle connection and just feeling the
muscle working.” With most bodybuilding questions though, the
answer tends to lie somewhere in the middle rather than being at one extreme or the other. And there are benefits and drawbacks to either
approach whether it’s really heavy “ego lifting” or lifting lighter weight in a
more controlled way. Now, the benefit of going a bit lighter is
that by using a slower rep cadence you’re still going to be able to place your muscles
under tension and stimulate hypertrophy that way but you’ll be doing it while placing
less stress on your joints and connective tissues. The downside is that, we know from research
that performing the positive portion of the rep as fast as possible and using a more explosive
cadence doesn’t improve muscle fiber recruitment and strength gains and that super slow eccentrics,
aren’t necessary either. Basically you’re getting decreased injury
risk but probably a bit less overall muscle growth if you’re going particularly light
and lifting really slowly. Now, on the other hand we have the approach
that says just lift as heavy and explosively as possible using momentum and to basically
just get the weight from point A to point B. The upside there being that as long as
you’re using reasonable form, you are going to put your muscle under more stress and generates
betters size and strength gains that way in comparison to going super slow and very tightly
controlled. But the downside, and this is something that
really doesn’t seem to get addressed very much but is really important, is that this
type of lifting is going to produce more wear and tear on your joints overtime and it’s
also going to increased the risk of a sudden injury as well if your form slips up on a
particular set. Now, are you guaranteed to get hurt? No, there’s no guarantee and some guys who
just generally have a stronger body structure and who employ this type of lifting in a calculated
way, they might be fine, but on average across the whole population I don’t there’s any
question that the super heavy style of lifting is going to be risky, especially in beginners. You’re going to have younger newbies out
there who just take this idea of super heavy lifting at face value who don’t have the
fundamentals down, don’t have a good base of size and strength to work with, and who’re
just going to load the bar up using as much weight as they can handle in sloppy form and
they are going to be a lot more likely to hurt themselves at some point. The thing that a lot of lifters don’t really
think about is the fact that weight training is a lifelong endeavor. And instead they just want to know what’s
going to pack on as much muscle and build as much strength as possible, as quickly as
possible without realizing that this is something you’re going to be doing, let’s say you’re
eighteen right now, not just until you’re twenty or twenty two but until you’re thirty,
forty, fifty, sixty, literally decades. And not just for the few years that are immediately
ahead of you. So if you’re doing really heavy, lower rep
bench presses, just dropping the bar to your chest and using a lot of momentum, really
heavy lateral raises, wide grip dips, overhand pull ups with as much weight as possible where
the only real goal is to get your chin over the bar, that stuff is going to add up overtime
for most lifters. You might be fine for a year maybe several
years but heavy weight training is actually really stressful to the body as a whole and
most people who train over the long term, even if they aren’t using a super heavy
“ego lifting” approach but are just training more moderately, they still usually experience
injuries at some point. Injury prevention isn’t just a matter of
proper technique, or warm ups, or having a properly balanced program, there is just a
general wear and tear principal at play here as well. So even if going really heavy was to produce
slightly better results it still doesn’t automatically make it the best approach for
building muscle long term because the risk/reward has to be taken into account. And we have to ask how much better of result
is it really going to produce anyway. We have data showing that sets of up to twenty-five
reps can still produce similar gains and hypertrophy to sets as low as eight reps, or we also know
that three sets of ten can produce the same result as ten sets of three. So as long as the volume is equated for there’s
no clear cut answer there anyway. And if we already know anecdotally that a
great physique can be built without going all the way to that really heavy extreme,
that you can get close to your genetic potential without maxing out every time you go into
the gym then I don’t really see a good argument for doing it on a consistent year round basis,
especially if you’re a beginner. If you’re going to be using a very heavy,
higher momentum style of lifting then you should at least be an intermediate level lifter
and have some reasonable experience under your belt, a good foundation, understand proper
technique, I think for a beginner to jump right into that style of lifting would be
very risky. Remember that you’re only as strong as your
weakest link and if you messed up your shoulder or your lower back, those types of injuries
can sometime be a one-way street and can give you issues literally for the rest of your
training career. So again, bottom line, if strength is your
main goal or if you’re just really enjoy heavy lifting for the sake of it and you’re
aware of the possible risk and you’re fine with it then that’s up to you. But I would say that if aesthetics are your
primary goal and you’re mainly training for hypertrophy, your goal is to gain muscle
mass, going to that extreme under consistent basis probably isn’t going to be the best
long term approach. So my advice is to just go with a healthy
middle ground for the bulk of your training. Not super light and super controlled but also
not super heavy using tons of momentum, chose a way that still feels decently heavy for
you relative to the rep range that you’re using. Use a little bit of natural body movement
during your sets, you don’t need to train like a robot. Perform the concentric portion hard and fast
but while also focusing on activating the muscle you’re trying to target. And then lower the weight under reasonable
control. You don’t need to do super slow negatives
but I wouldn’t suggest letting gravity do all the work either because I do think there
is a value in actively resisting the weight as lower it. And I think that for the goal of hypertrophy
while taking your joints into account a good two second or three second negative works
well on most exercises. So use that middle ground approach for the
majority of your training and if you want to mixed in some heavier “ego lifting”
from time to time you can do that if you’re more advanced and you know what you’re doing. Or if you’re trying to work around an injury,
or maybe you’re a bit older and your joints are just a bit more beat up in general, then
you can scale back even further and go with a lighter weights, slower and more controlled
approach. All of those approaches will ultimately build
muscle effectively as long as you’re progressing overtime and your nutrition is on point, but
again, the question has to be how do we build muscle as effectively as we can and how do
we do it as sustainably as possible. And I think that in terms of really heavy
weight versus really light weight, a moderate approach is probably going to be best most
of the time for most lifters out there. So I hope this was useful. If building a lean, muscular body is your
primary goal and you want a complete plan that shows you exactly how to maximize your
gains in a sustainable, long term way then you can check out my Body Transformation Blueprint
by clicking here or by visiting That lays everything out step-by-step including
the workouts, meal plans, supplement guides and one-on-one coaching. Make sure to like the video, leave a comment
and subscribe if you enjoyed it. The official website is over at And you can follow me as well here on social
media if you aren’t already. Thanks for watching, guys. I’ll see you in the next video.

61 thoughts on “Heavy “Ego Lifting” Vs. Slow/Controlled: Which Is Better?

  1. Thanks for checking out the video guys. What style of lifting do you personally use in terms of how heavy you go and how strict you are with your form, and why? Leave a comment below.

  2. Sean I downloaded your e book many years ago must be 15 years ago, first bit of bodybuilding information I really used, can't believe I just stumbled on to you on here. i think you looked bigger back then. mad. keep up the good work bro. you been at this for time.

  3. I do my my main barbell compound lifts a little bit more towards the heavy side (but sticking to RPE 9 – 9.5 at the most to stay away from grinder reps), my secondary compounds are done more in the middle ground and my isolation movements tend to be a bit more slow/controlled with lighter weight high reps really focusing on activating the muscle I am trying to hit. I find this approach works really work and balance out quite nicely.

  4. hi sean, i have always been using moderate weight(not too light, not too heavy), a weight which is intense enough for me to be able to have a control. Reason? because…i dont know haha sorry.

  5. After a lot of experimentation I've settled for a 6×6 range for compound lifts and 8×5 range for isolated movements. Allows me to lift relatively heavy while hitting multiple groups in a short time

  6. I try incorporate all types of training, depends how I'm feeling at time and if I'm cutting or bulking. 6 to 8 week heavy building up to PB's (6 to 12 rep range), then a de-load week then 8 to 10 weeks high volume (15 rep to 25 rep range). Also mixed periods through year where both heavy and high volume is done together if I'm wanting to achieve a certain PB… hope this makes sense?

  7. This is absolutely true.
    I was working out at X Sport Fitness in Illinois, & someone pointed out that I was bending my arms a bit on my deadlifts.

    At first, I jokingly shrugged it off, but he was explaining that I should straighten out my arms….
    He was right. I took his advice & I was able to move the weight more efficiently.
    If anyone else is reading this, Sean is the real deal & he knows what he's talking about.

    Happy Birthday Sean Nalewanyj ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

  8. i never understood this Sean…. if getting stronger means you will use more weights and intensity which will turn out to be increased volume… doesn't that mean the more you workout throughout the years the more and Greater gains you get ? , now that counter what we know , that the more you train the closer you get to your Genetic potential limit and that explains why the new lifters get these newbie gains…. ?!

  9. I use both methods. mostley slow n controlled but I normally have one day a month that I go really heavy to see if I have improved over the that time.


  11. I was up to 60lb dumbbells 3×8 chest press. Dropped it to 35lb 3×8 slower reps and have better results. Have worked back up to 45lb.

  12. I am beginner to this iron lifting world. Going to the gym for 4 months. I do pyramid type training from low weight(10-15 rep) to heavy weight(4-8 rep) in every exercise. Is it good for long term ??

  13. I like to do one power lifting and or one cross fit type exercise into each session but do the rest like a strict bodybuilder, something about lifting heavy gives some sort of natural boost (maybe testosterone). When I just do everything strict I seem to loose tone and muscle

  14. I am 64 now and started weight training at around 14 or 15 years of age. I still weight train 2-3 times a week but I don't go as heavy as I did early on. I use more moderate weights, just enough to put stress on the muscle and use higher more controlled reps as I am dealing with arthritis now in some of my joints probably brought on in part by going heavy years ago. Plus it takes me longer to recover between workouts these days. Protect your joints at all costs as you get older and forget ego lifting. It will only get your hurt.

  15. I definitely understand the danger of lifting heavy for the sake of lifting heavy. I was finding my 5 rm and tore the connection between my peg muscle and tendon. Who knows if I'll ever get my strength back or be able to lift without shoulder pain. Wish I'd just stuck with controlled lifting. DX

  16. The young bucks watch workout videos from advanced body builders doing heavy ego lifts so they copy it thinking it will make them achieve the same results.

  17. One week heavy low reps…
    One week light high reps…
    Tht works for me… And many bodybuilders….๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ

  18. Was lifting on the heavier side, but slightly injured my chest. Trying to drop the weight this week for a more controlled movement.

  19. You can do Heavy controlled lifts just less reps . Just weak people canโ€™t so they call it ego lifting … lol jk

  20. I really like the 3 day per week full body workouts that use heavy lifting with lower volume for block periodization to avoid muscle growth plateaus from constant high volume hypertrophic workouts. Iโ€™ll do 8 weeks of hypertrophy focused lifting then 4ish weeks of strength-style lifting.

  21. Lifting a 1-5 rep super-heavy set will up-regulate your temporary strength levels, which will enable you to go to a somewhat lower weight and do 10-25 reps with a weight you could NOT HAVE USED prior to that 1-5 rep set. I'm a small guy, 6-3 and ~182 lbs. I've gotten up to doing 400lbs plus in shrugs for 1-5, then a super-heavy static hold set (540-650lbs) for a few seconds. After that, I go back down to ~365lbs and do 20-25reps.

  22. Thanks for the excellent advice, Sean. I'm currently rehabilitating a shoulder injury so I'm sticking to relatively lighter weights and still making gains….

  23. Too much emphasis is on ego lifting.. everybody is too concerned about poundage… it's all about contraction feeling the muscle work, nothing else that being said. Doing volume and frequency can take it to a different level.

  24. I lift fairly quickly, but controlled. On each rep I reserve my effort for the 'sticking point', and if the weight is too heavy for me to retain a constant bar velocity throughout the rep, then I reduce the weight. I don't lock out, except on the last rep, and keep the tension on the muscles. Lifting's an art that can always be perfected ever further over years.

  25. It depends on the muscle pure training. You should do heavy squats and deadlifts not later shoulder raises thatโ€™s stupid. They donโ€™t are certain muscle groups you donโ€™t go heavy ever. Like rotator cuffs.

  26. IF anyone THINKS powerlifting is ego lifting, you are stupid about weightlifting preferences lol And you most likely arenโ€™t very strong. Not taking about Sean, heโ€™s very strong and intelligent.

  27. Hi Sean,
    Your advice is presented well for those seeking answers, usually those who are newer to bodybuilding. Your sensible approach to lifting, and your ability to be clear in your explanations are the main reasons I subscribe to your channel – it's solid advice aimed realistically at natural bodybuilders who are interested in a lifetime of productive training. In one of my recent videos (Talk 043), I touched on some of these points, albeit not as coherently as you perhaps, but my aim was to reveal a path towards a lifelong lifting program that keeps the body strong and injury free. I've been into serious bodybuilding since 1968, and yes, as you mention, to remain in this game for the long-haul, common sense and body integrity are essential, otherwise joint, connective tissue, and muscle injuries will eventually lead to a crippling consequence as the decades roll by. I employ all methods of bodybuilding training over the years, keeping my mind fresh and eager to get back to my next workout. Avoiding burnout is important, as I can well attest at more than half a century of pumping the iron! I am still having fun in the gym, and as far as I'm concerned, having fun is the foundational key to high enthusiasm, and thus positive muscle growth. Thanks for keeping the advice on your channel relevant, useful, and real for all us trainees out here who choose not to use artificial growth enhancement strategies. You perform a great service! See ya' …

  28. Most people ego lift…. because they heard you have to lift heavy and you have to do Progressive overload…. they took things out of context…. form always precedes weight….. then very your rep ranges and your sets!

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