How to know when to start lifting heavy weights

WWhen it comes to resistance training, there are different types of strength you can try to build: muscular endurance, maximal strength or power, just to name a few. But one thing they all have in common is that, in order to continue to see improvements and gains, you need to apply a concept called “progressive overload” to your workout plans. A big part of this is figuring out when it’s time to start lifting heavy weights.

“Basically, progressive overload is when you’re going to gradually increase your weight, your frequency, and/or your reps in a strength routine,” says personal trainer Bianca Vesco. If you don’t constantly step things up a notch, your muscles will get used to applying a certain amount of force or force, but not more. “Over time, our muscles will adapt to the stress we put them under, and we’ll have to increase the weight or intensity again,” says Vesco, “and that’s a sign of progress.”

Progressive overload will look different for everyone, depending on their fitness level and goals. “Strength training is never going to be one-size-fits-all, which is a great thing,” Vesco says But there are some universal signs that it’s time to start lifting heavy weights.

How to tell if the load you’re lifting is too light

If you’re new to weightlifting, the best way to understand how to progress in your practice is to work with a trainer, who can evaluate your form and help you determine what’s a realistic next step for you. But if you’re flying solo, Vesco recently took to Instagram to share a few simple ways to tell if it’s time to start lifting heavy.

  1. You can get through all your reps very easily.
  2. You’ve been using the same weights for months.
  3. You have no problem zoning out during your set.
  4. You are not in pain or tired.

What would the correct weight look like?

No matter where you are in your weight-lifting journey, the way trainers are taught to recommend weights is to suggest something that feels challenging by your last two to three sets of repetitions. “If you’re really swinging on progressive overload, that last rep, you’re going to struggle a little bit,” Vesco says.

Determining the right weight takes some guesswork, and often, as you figure it out, you can go incrementally from one set to the next if the weight you used the first go-round feels too easy by the end. Generally speaking though, the higher the reps, the lower the weight and vice versa – but regardless of this you should always feel challenged by the end of the set.

Remember that progress is not linear

As a personal trainer, Vesco says she gives about 30 sessions per week and 80 percent of her clients are women. Each of them has its own, personalized training program following the principle of progressive overload. But that doesn’t mean that every time he sees them, they’re necessarily adding more weight or reps to their workouts.

Before each session, Vesco says he checks in with his clients to see how they’re feeling and takes that intel into account when planning their training for the day. “It’s based on their energy level,” she says. “Do they feel like they have the strength to really push three to five, really heavy reps, or do they want to stay in the six to 12 rep range and push a little lighter.”

She uses this feedback to tweak their fitness routines to what’s going to be most effective and suggests you do the same. It’s always important to go into a workout with a plan, but plans can change—and it’s equally important to adapt accordingly. There are many ways to get better, faster, stronger. By listening to your body, you’re more likely to achieve those goals, rather than overdoing it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.