When deciding how much weight to use it all depends on your level of strength and/or muscular endurance. It also comes down to the set number of reps you have already predetermined you want to do. If you’re unsure how many repetitions to do I suggest reading Reps Reps Everywhere.
As a beginner, you need to familiarize yourself with the proper form for the exercise you intend to perform. For that be sure you understand the exercise and the target muscle group. I also advise practicing with little or no weight. This is also a good technique to use for warming-up for any given exercise. Now, when you are performing the exercise with a heavier weight once you start to “cheat” on proper form, stop. And by “cheat” I mean falling outside of anything considered proper form. That means no hip thrusting while trying to complete the last few barbell curls. (You know who you are)
It’s important you stop the exercise with improper form because your effects become negligible and what’s worse you may end up with an injury. So, let’s say you’re going for 10 reps, if at eight or nine you begin to cheat you’ll want to decrease the weight. On the other hand, if you are going for 5 reps and you can easily complete 10 then it’s time to bump up the weight.
As a beginner, it may seem a little difficult to determine the right amount of weight but you will quickly learn what you are capable of. This is another reason it important to track how much weight you lift and how many reps you can complete for each set. By tracking the weight and reps, you stop wasting time trying to remember what you lifted last week. It’s also a great piece of motivation to see where you started and where you are now.
Now that you understand how to pick the right amount of weight it’s time to move on to Rest Times.
- If you struggle to maintain form on the last repetition, good job you’re lifting the right amount weight.
- If you can’t complete the set number of repetitions while maintaining good form, it’s time to decrease the weight.
- If you complete a set and you could easily complete a few more repetitions it’s time to go heavier.
- At no point should you intentionally continue an exercise with poor form. Results become negligible and you may injure yourself.
- Be sure to keep track of how much you lift per set and how many repetitions you successfully complete.
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