Heavy, Light Workout

Ok so we all know that heavy training is good for building your foundations and strength. We also know that light weights training (around 15 reps) is perfect for inducing pumps and are great for over-all muscular development. Furthermore there are studies indicating that light weights can do magic as long as one lowers the weight slowly and have enough time under tension.

Needless to say that there exist two factions of idiots I mean, “close-minded” lifters who argue against one another. One side says that “Heavy weights is the ONLY way to go”;

while the other band says “No, you airheads light weights, high reps is the ONLY way to train!”

Disclaimer: About lifting belongs to NONE of these two factions since we actually look into the studies and we know that the word “periodization” exists while these two heavy/light groupies don’t.

So how do we settle this “ARGUMENT”? Do we hand each with knives or pistols? Or can this be settled with a little diplomacy? Worry not! There shall be no bloodshed, for your man – DA’ IRONTHUMB has an answer to allow each side to get what they want, it’s so simple:

Include both HEAVY and LIGHT weights training in the SAME training session!

Yup, that is both simple and effective. You see, some exercises like heavy compound lifts, say: Bent-over rows, free weight presses of any kind, squats, etc are best done when fresh at the beginning of the session and with heavy loads that can only be done for no more than 7 reps.

There are also some exercises like cable-oriented exercises and isolation moves that are best done by the end of the session since they don’t need much balancing and are best done with high reps to finish the workout with an almighty pump! Well not that a pump is any indicator of growth but it sure feels damn good!

By the way, this idea is not new its actually old school. Dudes from the 50s were so fond of doing heavy-light programs. There is also the great Chuck Sipes who relied heavily on this kind of protocol. Here’s an article of how Chuck Sipes designed his Heavy-Light sessions.

chuck sipes heavy light

So how do we do the light/heavy sessions Ironthumb style? Simple, just do 2-3 exercises for a bodypart. For major bodypart, you can choose a compound lift that you can do for 6 reps for upper body and 10 reps for legs. Heavy dumbbells are one of my favorite since they require much CNS involvement and going heavy on dumbbells really annihilates the fibres. You can choose the first exercise to do your HIT techniques as well – drop sets are great for this kind of job.

After that you can either choose another exercise which targets the muscle at another angle then do it for regular straight set or you can proceed with the “light” part which is when you will have to choose a machine compound move or an isolation move that will finish off your target body part with high reps and a great pump.


Chest –

Heavy dumbbell presses 3 sets

Heavy flyes – 3 sets

Light chest press machine – 3 sets

Back –

Heavy dumbbell bent over rows – 3 sets

Lat pull downs – 3 sets 8-12 reps

Light dumbbell pull overs – 3 sets (emphasize the stretch at the bottom)

Biceps –

Heavy standing alternating dumbbell curls (you can also do hammer curls) – 3 sets

Light Spider curls – 3 sets


Triceps –

Heavy weighed dips – 3 sets

Light cable pushdowns – 3 sets


Quadriceps –

Heavy Squats – 4 sets

Drop set leg press – 5 drops

Light leg extensions – 4 sets (very slow descent)

Hamstrings –

Heavy stiff legged deadlifts -4 sets

Light lying leg curls – 4 sets

Another perfect thing about this regimen is that you’ll be subjecting both your fast and slow twitch muscle fibres for growth in a single training session – thus more growth for you and me! There you have it! Heavy – Light workout IronThumb style! Eat your eggs, people!

A-Lifter- Don't forget to leave your comment/feedback below.  If this article was helpful, I am sure our book Real Talk Muscle will help you even more in your quest for muscle gain. Check it out you can read the first few chapters as well.
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