Most beginners are so concerned about looking strong in the gym that they neglect the most important elements of a successful weight training program;
Using the right number of repetitions, training at the right tempo, and using the correct amount of weight for each exercise.
Lifting the wrong amount of weight, whether it be too heavy or too light, can severely limit your muscle gains.
This is why determining how much weight to lift for each exercise in your program demands plenty of attention.
Some people lift to much weight, while others lift too little. In both cases muscle mass gains will be limited.
Let’s take a closer look at what happens if the incorrect amount of weight is used in your hypertrophy training routine:
The chart above demonstrates how important it is to using the right weight when training to build muscle
Now that you understand why the correct weight must be used, it’s time to learn how to determine the correct weight.
How do I Determine How Much Weight to Lift?
When choosing the amount of weight to use, the main goal is to lift a weight that is heavy enough so that you reach “failure” (or very close to it) at the end of each set.
Failure simply means that you should be struggling by the last one or two repetitions, and should not be able to perform more than the alloted number of repetitions for that set
Example: If you are aiming for 8-10 repetitions, the weight should become very difficult to lift once you reach between 8 and 10. Sounds simple enough right?
Typically, most muscle building training programs incorporate a weight that is between 70-85% of your 1RM (1 repetition maximum weight).
By using this calculation you should get a weight that can only be lifted between 8-10 repetitions, which is considered the ideal range for building muscle.
Here a step by step example of how you can estimate how much weight should be lifted for each weight training exercise:
Determine your 1RM for each exercises. This is the maximal amount of weight you can lift, using correct exercise technique.
Dumbell Free Weights
Use your 1RM to plug in to the formula below. Do this for each exercise. this number will be the actual estimated weight that you should use for that specific exercise.
(1RM) X (.70 – .85) = Estimated weight
So let’s say your maximum bench press is 185 lbs. You would plug that number in to the formula, and it would look like this:
- 185 X .70 = 129.5 lbs.
- 185 X .85 = 157 lbs.
Therefore, the estimated amount of weight that you should lift for this example would be between about 130 and 157 pounds.
Now since that is a pretty wide range, proceed to step 3 to get a more accurate weight.
Using the estimated weights you calculated using the formula above, perform one set to failure, for each exercise.
Keep track of the number of repetitions you were able to complete then add or decrease weight until you are able to perform the number of repetitions that your program specifies.
For example, if you calculated that 70% of your 1RM for the bench press was 130 pounds, perform one set of this weight to failure.
If you were able to perform 20 repetitions, then the weight is obviously too light and needs to bee increased.
If you were only able to perform 5 repetitions on the other hand, the weight is too heavy and needs to be decreased.
To build significant amounts of muscle, you have to train with a weight that is 70 – 85% of your 1RM.
Aim for a time under tension (TUT) of approximately 30-70 seconds, or a repetitions range of about 8 – 10.
Remember to leave your ego at the door when you enter the gym, and train to build muscle, not to impress others.
Lifting a weight that is too heavy can sacrifice exercise technique, and will increase your strength instead of building muscle. Using weight that is too light will not place enough load on the muscles, and ultimately won’t force them to grow.
Finally, once you have determined how much weight to lift for each exercises, make sure that you are using the correct number of repetitions, and tempo.
And lastly to help yourself workout harder try the D Bal Max body building supplement!