What Weight Should I Lift?

Make it intense

Training intensity is the amount of effort you exert! When it comes to weight training, choosing the right amount of weight is important for getting the results you want.

If you’ve selected the right amount of weight, the last two to three reps in a set should be difficult.

You’ll feel fatigue, the burn intensifies, the weight feels heavier and it gets harder and harder to finish each rep.

If your rep range is 8 to 12 and you get the upper rep number--and it feels easy, the weight is too light.

Doing high reps with light weights will NOT develop muscle definition or burn more fat.

The traditional way to calculate your optimal training load is the one rep max test.

It’s exactly what it sounds like: you build up to the heaviest weight you can lift one time and that’s your one rep max. When you know your one rep max then you choose your training load based on a percentage of it. The traditional prescription is:

70% or less = light

70 - 85 % = moderate

85% or higher = heavy

If you’re not interested in doing this you can use this rep max range or bracket:

For maximum strength gains do  4 - 7 reps with heavy weight.

For maximum muscle development + some strength, do 8 - 12 reps with moderate weight.

For muscular endurance, metabolic conditioning + little strength, do 13 - 20+ reps with light weight.

Most people want more than one of these benefits and that’s one reason why it makes sense to train in multiple rep ranges either in the same workout or alternating workouts. Working in more than one rep range gives you the best overall results because it develops greater strength as well as greater muscle development.

The simplest & easiest way to get started is choose one rep range such as 3 x 8-12 (three sets of 8 to 12 reps). Giving yourself a range lets you know when it’s time to increase weight and helps you use the progressive resistance.

Take a rest

Rest intervals can range from 30 seconds to 3-5 minutes.

If you’re training for muscle 60-90 seconds between sets is good.

If you’re training or strength, extend rest between sets to 2-3 minutes.