Despite retiring from competitive bodybuilding, Dana Linn Bailey‘s passion for training and exercise remains unmatched. In a recent YouTube video published on November 27, 2023, DLB opened up about the six tips she employs to maximize muscle gains during any workout with lighter weight.
As a former Women’s Physique Olympia (2013), Dana Linn Bailey reached the top of the sport with a feminine figure combined with impressive muscularity. Sporting a ripped six-pack and capped shoulders, Lin Bailey was a force to be reckoned with as an active bodybuilding threat.
While she never succeeded in winning back the prestigious title, Linn Bailey’s notoriety in the sport has only grown. Boasting over 539,000 YouTube subscribers and over 2.2 million followers on Instagram, Bailey’s warm personality and easy-to-understand content have turned her into a star.
Check Out Dana Linn Bailey’s 6 Tips for Muscle Growth Using Lighter Weights
1. Slow Down the Reps
DLB’s first tip with lighter weight was to slow down the reps during each set.
“Using negatives slow eccentrics, you’re just slowing the movement down.
Any time you slow the movement down you’re going to recruit more muscle fibers because you have to concentrate and keep them going at the same speed which is a lot harder. So you’re going recruit more muscles and it’s also more time under tension.”
2. Pause Reps, Dead Stop Reps, and Iso Holds
Next, Bailey explained how she utilizes pause reps, dead stop reps, and isometric holds.
“Pause reps and dead stops are very very similar. Pause reps the only difference is you can kind of put those anywhere you want in the rep range. So, a lot of times I can pause as I’m benching. I pause mid-way, so if I come down, pause mid-way, and then up, or you can do it on the reverse pause.”
“You can do those on deadlifts or squats. Dead stop — you’re taking the complete momentum out of it which is also if you pause on your chest that would also be a dead stop.
But you can do those from the ground on a deadlift so instead of bouncing it off the ground where you get that little jolt and it helps you up, you bring the weight all the way down stop it, make the bar stop completely, this way you’re recruiting more muscles to really explode up.”
When performing wall squats or bicep curls, Bailey shared that she likes to use isometric holds.
“The last one is an iso hold, the iso hold is an isometric hold. You’re holding and you’re not moving. So wall squats, I do this a lot when I do bicep curls I’ll do it alternating where I’m holding one arm while I bicep curl the other arm. Again, it’s all time under tension.”
3. Unilateral Movements
As for the benefits of unilateral movements, Bailey says there are many. These movements are effective when someone has access to lighter weights, endured an injury, or suffers from an imbalance in their physique.
“Especially if you train at home and you don’t have heavy weights especially for like a leg day. As soon as you take one leg out of it that 50 pounds that maybe you have to work with now is going to make it a lot harder. Obviously, any kind of unilateral work is more challenging.”
“You’re only using one leg, there’s balance. But the great benefit of it is you don’t need a whole lot of weight so you’re going to take a lot of stress off those joints that you’re doing and it also works on muscular imbalances. Because whatever the right leg, the left leg has to do too so over time it creates more evenly developed muscles,” shared Dana Linn Bailey.
4. Increase Reps and Sets
To reap the most from a workout with lighter weights, Bailey underscored the importance of increasing the reps and sets.
“To create that same stimuli that you would get with you know 25-30s where you’re doing 10-12 reps, if I only have 10 [pound dumbbells] should I stop at 10-12 reps if I can keep going?
No! You keep going. So to create the same stimulus that you would get from heavy reps, you just do more, you just do more reps at your lighter weight.”
5. Decrease Rest Time In Between Sets
In addition, DLB mentioned that shorter rest periods can also increase the intensity of a workout.
“When you’re doing lighter weight, you can create or you can make that rest time a lot smaller. Plus it’s going to boost your metabolism, you’re going to be burning more, you’re going to be sweating, and it makes that next set a lot heavier.”
6. Pre Exhaust
Lastly, Bailey advocated for pre-exhausting the muscles, especially when you’re using lighter weight.
“On those bigger compound movements if you’re looking to lighten the load or make those compound movements feel heavier with lighter weight, use a pre-exhaust.
A lot of times on leg day before I get to a leg press, I’ll do some extensions or curls and kind of like exhaust those muscles that are going to be working so that when I get to that compound exercise, I don’t need 100 plates. I need a fraction of them because I’m already pre-exhausted.”
At 40 years old, Dana Linn Bailey remains in spectacular shape. Questions about whether she would consider a comeback surfaced during her appearance on a recent Cutler Cast Podcast. Teasing the possibility, DLB underlined that she never used the word retirement when stepping away from the sport.
Regardless of whether Dana Linn Bailey makes a bodybuilding return, her legacy is set in stone. As a prominent YouTuber and fitness personality, she continues to offer her fans and followers fun and interactive gym content.