This Is How You Know When It Is Time To Lift Heavier Weights
October 23, 20153 min read
It happens to everyone. You've been hitting the gym solidly or regularly attending a fitness class when all of sudden, you stop seeing results. Your muscles aren't growing and all the moves you do are starting to feel easy. In all likelihood, you've hit a plateau because you aren't using enough weight. If you've been strength training for weeks on end but have yet to reach for heavier dumbbells, it might be time. But the question is, how much weight can you lift? Where do you even start?
What to expect when lifting heavier
For starters, remember this: you will not bulk up overnight. Fellas, we're sorry but you won't get ripped just by lifting heavier and ladies, there is nothing to fear here.
The men with huge muscles spend countless hours focusing on growing their muscles and their bodies in a specific way. It takes a serious, concerted effort. Women don't have the hormone profile to build hefty bulk, but they can increase lean body mass, decrease fat and boost confidence.
Lifting heavy weights will challenge and change you, for the better. The way in which you lift heavier; the amount of weight you use, the exercises you do and the plan you follow, can be what tailors your results.
Your game plan
Start small. Determining the right weight depends on what you are doing. If you've not done the exercise before, Rob Sulaver, founder and CEO of Bandana Training, recommends a warm-up self-assessment. “Start with 50 percent less than what you might expect to lift, and do a few reps with that,” he says. For example, if you normally lift 20-pound weights, start with 10s. “That should feel easy, so really make sure your form is spot on. Then gradually work your way up in weight doing a few reps at a time." Once you've selected a weight that feels challenging (one where you have to slow down to complete the reps with good form), use that weight for your first set. Now, you have an idea of what weight to use and you're already warmed up!
Know when it is time to increase the weight. If you are already fairly experienced with dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells, you may be wondering when and how to add more weight. Consider the speed of your lift and how you feel when the set is complete. “If your last couple reps are slow and über strenuous, leaving you sweaty and short of breath, then you’re using the right weight,” Sulaver says. “If you’re performing the last couple reps easily at normal speed, you could probably go heavier.”
Figure out how much weight to add. When it comes time to increase your weight, it shouldn't be a massive increase. Sulaver recommends adding weight every week. “But in baby steps—sometimes it’s only 2.5 percent heavier than the prior week,” he says. There is a delicate balance between pushing yourself and listening to your body's limitations. The more lifting you do, the easier it will be to strike that balance.
The bottom line
You will hit a point where light weights with lots of reps is just a waste of your time. “The only thing you get good at when you’re lifting two to three pounds for hundreds of reps is lifting two to three pounds for hundreds of reps,” Sulaver says. “If you want to be good at that, then it’s a smart thing to do.”
If you want to challenge AND change your body, you will have to increase your weights. It really is that simple.
Did you hit a plateau with your workout? How did you determine it was time to increase the weight you were lifting? One of the best ways to bust out of a plateau is to mix things up! Why not play around with a new routine. Have a look at SweatFlix℠! With SweatFlix℠ you'll have access to over 120 hours of real time, on demand workouts. From 21 day bootcamps to 5 day challenges, beginner to advanced, HIIT training to yoga, SweatFlix℠ has it all! Start your free trial today!
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