One of the most critical aspects of a workout is deciding how much weight to incorporate into your sets. However, it’s not always easy to know which weight best suits your size and strength. I broke down a few easy ways to help you figure out the proper weight for your strength, plus how to tell if the weight you’ve chosen is too much for your body.
Those last few reps shouldn’t come easy
If you sail through each set of your workout, you probably aren’t using a heavy enough set of weights. Those last few reps should be a challenge. If you’re unsure of which weight is best for you, test out a few different ones to get a feel for which gives you a solid workout without causing pain. If you’re not breaking a sweat during or “feeling the burn” during those last few reps of your set, it’s time to move on to some heavier weights.
…But don’t let the weight make you sacrifice proper form
If your weights are too heavy, it could affect your form. Without perfect form, you risk an injury. That’s because lifting weights that are too heavy causes your body to misalign. This makes it easier for strains or tears to happen because your muscles and joints are being pulled in ways they’re not used to. The majority of people who get injured during a workout do so because of improper form. If you’re unsure of what an exercise should look like, ask a trainer to show you to be sure you learn it correctly.
The weight also depends on the number of reps
When trying to choose the best weight for your needs, you should think about how many reps you’ll be doing. According to bodybuilding.com, there are three different rep ranges: training for muscle strength, training for muscle size, and training for muscle endurance.
Muscle strength: 1-6 reps
Muscle size: 8-12 reps
Muscle endurance: 15 reps
If you’re training for muscle strength, you’ll want to use a heavier weight for fewer reps. Muscle endurance means more reps with a lower weight, and muscle size is somewhere between the two. The type of workout you’re aiming for says a lot about the amount of weight you should use.
Your body’s response will tell you the most
Even if you think you’ve chosen the right set of weights, your body might say otherwise. If you’re doing 10 reps, the last few should force you to push yourself. But if you find you’re already straining on the third rep, it might be best to take the weights down a notch. It’s better to start out slow and work your way to a higher weight than go all in and hurt yourself. Everyone’s body is different, and some people take more time to adjust to certain exercises than others. At the end of the day, it’s all about what your body tells you.
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