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Posts tagged ‘Strength Train’

How much Weight should you lift?

Strength training may not be rocket science, but for the average person, figuring out the best, safest, and most effective ways to lift weights is not always the easiest thing to do. There are bunches of Utube videos, toning classes and fitness plans that you can learn from in order to reach your goals of toning up, building strength, and reshaping your body. But even if you’re following a great plan designed by a great trainer, one big question still remains: How much weight should you be lifting?

You have to take results and safety into consideration. Here is my simple way of explaining it:

1. We are all at different strength levels and the muscles throughout your body also vary in strength, right? So you might lift 15 lbs for biceps, but your shoulders can’t take that kind of weight, and as far as your legs, 15 pounds won’t feel like much. So the amount of weight you lift during one exercise could be too light or too heavy for another.

2. You need to experiment with a variety of weights to find the appropriate level for each exercise you do. Working out at a gym makes that easy, but doing so at home will take a little more space and investment. Start out with at least two, and ideally three sets of dumbbells: a light, medium and heavier set–defined by your own fitness level.

3. Guidelines to select proper weight for strength training:

Aim low. The safest and most effective thing to do if you are a beginner is to master your exercises with little to no added weight so that you can focus intensely on proper form, which is essential before you’re going to increase the weight. There is no shame in doing body weight squats, crunches, modified pushups or even “mock” bench presses or triceps extensions without added weight. Slowly begin to incorporate weights, starting with your lightest weights, only after you have mastered the moves without weight.

Go slow. If you have to move at jackrabbit speed or harness momentum to lift the weight, it is simply too heavy. It’s that simple. The proper weight will allow you to move in a slow, controlled manner.

Never sacrifice form for function. You might want to fast track your results by picking a heavy weight, but lifting more weight should never trump doing it correctly. If you can’t do the exercise properly, then the added weight is not doing you any favors and may actually increase your risk for serious injury.

Count your reps. In general, you are lifting the right amount of weight when you can perform 8-15 repetitions in good form. Once you get strong enough to do more than 15 repetitions more easily, it’s probably time to increase the weight again.

Work to fatigue. This is the #1 key for selecting the proper weight. The weight you lift should not only meet the guidelines for form above, but should also challenge your muscles! The only way strength training is really going to benefit you is for you to overload your muscles—that means working them to fatigue. The weight you select should be challenging enough to fatigue your muscles within 8-15 repetitions.

So the weight you pick should

(1) be moderately challenging: not so heavy that you can’t lift it with proper form and control, and not so light that you could lift it forever,

(2) fatigue your muscles within 8-15 reps, which means you couldn’t possibly lift another repetition in good form beyond that,

(3) vary depending on the exercise and muscle group you are working since some muscles are stronger than others, just as certain exercise are inherently more complex or challenging than others,

(4) continue to change as you get stronger, and this continual progression is what improves your strength over time and boosts your fitness level.


There you have it! Any question?



Lifting Weights the Right Way

Are you guilty of going too light when you lift? If so, you may not be seeing the results you’d like. Learn more about why lifting heavier weights could change your entire bod

Lifting Heavy is the Key to Weight Loss: Did you know that muscle plays a huge role in raising metabolism. That’s because losing fat involves increasing your metabolism, and a pound of muscle burns about 10-20 calories a day while a pound of fat burns 5 calories. That means any growth in your muscle tissue is going to help you burn more calories all day long.

In fact, strength training has all kinds of great effects on your body like:

  • Increasing resting metabolic rate so you burn more calories, even while at rest.
  • Making you lean and slim–muscle takes up less space than fat so, the more you have, the slimmer you are
  • Strengthening bones and connective tissue, which can protect your body from injuries in daily life
  • Enhancing balance and stability
  • Building confidence and self-esteem

However…this only works if you’re using enough weight to stimulate that muscle growth. In other words, if you can lift the weights you’ve chosen (for most exercises) more than 16-20 times, you might not see the kind of fat loss you would if you increased your weight.

People, especially women, are afraid to lift heavy for all kinds of reasons: it feels weird, fear of injury, confusion as to how much is too much, fear of getting bulky (Lifting heavy weights will NOT make you huge–you simply don’t have the testosterone levels to build big muscles. Lifting heavy weights WILL help you lose fat), fear of pain.

But the

  • goal of weight training is to lift as much weight as you possibly can (with good form!) for the number of reps you’ve chosen. In daily life, we typically don’t push ourselves to fatigue in anything we do, so this idea may not only feel foreign, it may feel downright miserable. But it is totally worth it!


How heavy should you lift? Lifting between 60-80% of your 1 rep max is the best way to stimulate muscle growth, which is what helps you lose fat. The problem is that most of us don’t think much about how much weight we need, much less going through the process of figuring out 1 rep max for every exercise we’re doing. So, how do you figure out how much to lift if you don’t know your 1 rep max? Typically, if you lift 60%-80% of max, you could do anywhere from 10-20 reps. Lifting at 80% and above takes you down to the lower rep range, which is where you’ll be if you’re trying to gain size. That means keeping your reps somewhere between 8-16, if you’re lifting for weight loss and fitness. Your weights are determined by the number of reps you’re doing.

The important thing to remember when it comes to strength training is that you must give you your muscles more weight than they can handle–that’s how muscles grow. The challenge of lifting heavy is just as much a mental game as it is a physical one and, if you haven’t pushed your body’s limits in a while, just the act of lifting weights may be all you can handle. If you’re consistent with a basic program and build a solid foundation of strength, you’ll be ready for the next step–lifting heavy and pushing your muscles to their limits. You’ll be amazed at the changes in your body. And how much fun it is!

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