One of the biggest questions you might be asking before hitting the gym is ‘how much weight should I use?’. It can leave you with such a vague sense of what to do that you might skip strength training altogether. However, it also teaches you one of the biggest lessons in working out, never be afraid to start small. Everyone starts somewhere, the weight you use is appropriate for YOUR journey, your goals, and why YOU are exercising.
Here are the top training tips to keep in mind:
- You want to use a weight that will allow you to successfully reach 10 reps with a slight challenge.
- If you reach the 10th and feel like you could do 10 more, the weight is too light.
- If you reach the 6th and feel like you can’t get to 10, the weight is too heavy. This should give you an idea of what the ‘challenge’ should be. You should feel your muscles being worked, without feeling strained.
- Did you check out the weights, only to notice that you really want the next weight up but it is not available? That’s ok, choose the lighter weight and increase your reps to 12 or 15.
- DO NOT choose a higher weight and struggle. You will only hurt yourself more than you feel like you are making progress. Remember, this is your journey and you will know the time to increase weight, don’t rush the process.
- By struggle, I mean you begin to compromise your form. If you feel challenged, but are able to complete the exercise with proper form, you have found a good weight to move up to.
- Did you choose a heavier weight in your last session but today it seems impossible to lift? IT HAPPENS. It doesn’t mean you cannot lift it anymore. Often times, especially for females, a lot of factors can result into having a off training session. Everything from stress, fatigue, or what you ate that can affect this feeling, especially hormones. Do not dwell on the weight you are choosing. Instead, pick the appropriate weight you feel successful with for that day and continue on. Remember each day is it’s own workout.
- Don’t rely on machines for your workout. Machines are a great way to assist yourself in the gym. However, make sure to vary your workouts between cable exercises, free weights like dumbbells and barbells, and assisted machines. Each of these exercises work your muscles in different ways as you can end up holding each from different angles. Most importantly, using free weights can serve as a core workout as well as you use other muscles to stabilize while you are working the targeted muscle.
Most importantly, remember this is YOUR workout, own it! You should always finish your workout feeling accomplished for showing up, tackling each exercise, and grateful for the opportunity you gave yourself to do so.