Picking the optimal weight is very important. But what is the optimal weight?
As a gym lover, we often get used to what our bodies can cope with and what works best, but what about if you’re just starting out? This is a basic guide to introduce the idea of how you can make sure you’re picking the right weight when in the gym.
You can pick up a light dumbbell and curl it 50 times or pick up a heavy dumbbell and curl it 5 times; what which method is best? Both methods leave you feeling tired and sore.
The answer completely depends on your goals. If you’re looking to get as strong as possible, you’ll be using a heavier weight than someone who is trying to get as big as possible. And to improve muscular endurance, you’ll use an even lighter weight.
This is a rough guide you can follow:
- Strength training means choosing weights that allow you to train in a rep range of 1 – 6.
- Building muscle means choosing weights that allow you to train in a rep range of 8 – 12.
- Focusing on muscular endurance means choosing weights that allow you to train for at least 15 reps.
Sites like Bodybuilding.com offer great advice from professionals. Similarly, there are so many great fitness blogs out there that offer unique info. A site such as Fitness Drum offers detailed reviews of anything from diet and workouts to the best equipment to use.
Individuals react to exercise and diet very differently though. Two people following the same diet and same exercise may not end up looking the same. Genetics will pay a big part so after a while you’ll get to know what works best for you.
The important thing to remember is the question, what is your goal? People often get carried away with trying to lift as heavy as possible. Doing 1 rep maxs and really pushing their bodies.
But if the aim is to look as big as possible, often this isn’t the best approach. Getting 6/8 – 12 reps in will ensure your muscles are working very hard and can be the perfect amount for the average gym goer.
If you’re new to the gym, your main focus should be on form. If one guy is going heavy and doing 10 reps but has awful form, this won’t develop muscle as quick as someone who takes their time and progresses sensibly. You need to get in ‘the zone’ but that doesn’t mean forgetting form. You also put yourself at risk for injury when using incorrect form.
Mixing it up will also see more gains. If you’ve been doing 1 rep maxes on the bench for 3 weeks in a row, changing it up and sticking to a high rep session will shock the muscles and force them to grow.