How To Choose the Right Weights in the GymJan 05, 2024
It’s a question we get asked a lot - and it's a great question. Picking the right weight is important - it will avoid injury and ensure progress with your training. But the right weight is different for each and every one of us. Much of it is trial and error in the first instance but to help you do it in the safest way possible- here's a step-by-step guide to help you make the right selection:
1. Assess Your Current Fitness Level:
It’s important to gauge where you’re currently at so that you don’t jump right in at the deep end and cause an injury. Have you lifted weights before or is this your first time? This will determine where you begin with the weights.
2. Consult a Professional:
If you're new to weight training, it can be highly beneficial to seek guidance from a fitness trainer or coach. They can guide your weight selection and even help you with your form.
3. Start Light:
It's generally a good idea to begin with lighter weights, especially if you're new to weight training. This allows you to focus on proper form and technique while minimizing the risk of injury.
4. Learn Proper Form:
Before increasing the weight, ensure you've mastered the correct form and technique for each exercise. You may want to start with just your bodyweight to perfect the form before adding any weights at all.
5. Progress With a Weight that Challenges You:
As you become more comfortable with your initial weights, gradually increase the resistance. The right weight should be challenging but still allow you to complete your desired number of repetitions with proper form. If you can easily complete the set, it's time to increase the weight.
6. Focus on Repetitions:
In general, using a weight that allows you to complete 8-12 repetitions with proper form is a good range for building strength and muscle endurance. None of this 100 reps with lighter weights for “toning” - it doesn’t work!!
7. Progress Gradually:
The key to effective weight training is progressive overload. As your strength improves, continue to increase the weight incrementally. A general guideline is to go up to the next weight when you can comfortably complete your desired repetitions for a particular exercise.
8. Listen to Your Body:
Pay attention to how your body responds to the weights. If you experience pain, discomfort, or strain, it's essential to reduce the weight and reassess your form. Never feel upset for having to go down a weight, you will never know if you don’t try a heavy weight but if it is too soon it’s essential that you respect this and let your body have a little more time with the previous weight before moving up again.
9. Use a Variety of Weights:
Different exercises may require different weights. It's common to use heavier weights for lower body exercises like squats and deadlifts and lighter weights for upper body exercises like bicep curls.
10. Stay Patient and Consistent:
Building strength and muscle takes time. You won’t be increasing the weights every session, and things get in the way of progress like illness and time off training but be patient with your progress and stay consistent in your training routine when you can and you will see progress.
Remember that they are your workouts, so don’t compare what you’re lifting to someone else as you’re all on your own journey and have your own goals. Don’t be afraid to try a heavier weight but also don’t be too proud to drop it down again if you need to. Progress isn’t linear and you will have times where you get frustrated but use these guidelines through your training and you will get stronger at the right pace for you.
If you are unsure of how to structure a workout, what equipment to use and how to progress, the SHE'S BACK 16-WEEK GYM PLAN will help you to feel more confident as you step into the gym, know what you are doing with a plan that develops consistency and progress with weight training.
All you need to do is turn up, follow along, head home and repeat three times a week.
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