Adding weight training into your fitness routine is crucial for building strength, power, definition and lean muscle. If you are new to weight training here are a few steps to help you choose the right weights for your workout!
Step 1. Learn Proper Form
Form is one of the most important components to weight lifting. Bad form can lead to injury and muscular imbalances so – practicing the proper technique first is key. Start with a light weight (3-5 pound dumbbells) while learning. Once you have the moves mastered it’s time to increase the weight! If you are able to do over 20 reps of one exercise – with proper form – you will most likely want to increase your weight.
Step 2. Set Your Target Rep Range
Lower rep ranges (6-8) are typically meant for building strength while higher ranges (10-15) are beneficial for building endurance.
Step 3. Find Your Ideal Weight
Once you have set your rep range try a few practice sets to find your ideal weight. The goal is to reach the last targeted rep without losing form while still being challenged. Your tempo (speed that you perform the exercise) should remain the same right through to the last rep. If you feel like you could perform a few more reps you should probably increase your weight slightly. If you lose form, or cannot reach the target rep range, you need to decrease the weight.
Step 4. Keep a Training Journal
This will help you track the weights you use for each workout and will allow you to track progress as you increase your weights over time.
These steps apply to the other types of resistance equipment you will find in your gym – cable machines, kettle bells, barbells, medicine balls etc. Remember that over time you will get stronger so adjust your weight and rep range as needed. Make sure you are consistently challenging yourself, practicing proper form and tracking your progress and you are bound to see results! Happy lifting 🙂