The picture of a young muscular man exercising on light to medium weighted dumbbells is an example that you don’t need to lift heavy weights to gain whatever physique you desire. I always tell my clients to leave their ego at the door to get them to understand this concept. The injuries my own body has sustained over my competitive years is testimony that very heavy resistances can cause you a lot of pain and damage and unless that lifting the heaviest weights possible is your goal in your exercise program, you don’t need to go through that.
You can gain a great physique without using heavy weights. If having a great physique is your primary goal, ensure that it is also a body that you have complete control of and you can do high levels of athletic performance with it as well. I guess this is one of the main goals for Cross fit programs and all the offshoots, but from my perspective they miss the mark in that they tend to push people over the limits and concentrate only on the number of repetitions someone can achieve, rather than the technique. Of course this causes some major injuries.
You can change up the intensity of an exercise by how you perform it. A great example of this is if you do an Incline Dumbbell Press (or a Flat Dumbbell Press if you like). Try it if you are unsure of what I am talking about but start by using a lighter set of Dumbbells than you usually use! But this time start the movement by holding the Dumbbells close to in line with the lateral plane (see the photo above) of the body. But as you raise the Dumbbells slowly and your arms come into full Extension, turn them 90 degrees so that the handles are parallel to each other. You probably have done this exercise like this before but now as the sides of the Dumbbells touch each other push your biceps towards each other (this is when you will feel the difference!) Of course your biceps will not touch each other (impossible anatomically). Slowly lower the Dumbbells as you pause for a second or so at this top position and repeat for three sets of 10 – 12 repetitions. I promise you will feel it in the chest the next day but don’t overdo the push inwards as you can overextend your elbows. Do not do the exercise like this every time, but if you do it this way once a week, you will gain great results. There are other ways to to challenge yourself with this favorite exercise by leading with either your thumb of your pinky or by developing continuous tension in not fully extending at the top of the movement of touching your shoulders with the Dumbbell plates at the bottom of it. You can do the movement with a one and a half movement (by only going halfway up between each full movement). …there are many variations…
The thing is, most people try to push big resistances and think that they will get the best results this way where they only need to do each exercise correctly without pushing weights that can injure them. You can do a full effective workout without using anything more than your own body weight.
Use you mind with your workouts to gain more rapid gains and more effective results.