A question I get asked all the time – What weight are you lifting in this workout? How heavy should it be? – and actually, the answer is always “it depends”. I know it’s extremely annoying to hear but let me explain myself.
The idea behind a strength workout is to build YOUR strength. So really it doesn’t matter what anyone else is lifting because they are building THEIR strength which is totally different to yours.
How do I know what weight is right for me?
Ok so here are a few things I would bear in mind when choosing the weights you use for your workout
Aim for 10 reps.
I would recommend you choosing a weight that you can complete 10 repetitions of an exercise with, but where rep number 9 and 10 feel like a real challenge. If you feel like you could go on and do 20 then perhaps go heavier. If you are at your maximum capacity at 5 then these weights are too heavy for you right now.
Never sacrifice form.
The most important thing is that you do the exercises correctly. The weight doesn’t matter. If your form is being compromised you should lower the weight. When we lift something that is too heavy for us we tend to overcompensate by using our backs. All sorts of other things can go wrong when you lose your form. Please always remember that form comes above weights.
Going lighter is not a failure.
I know a lot of you feel that you shouldn’t be dropping your weights but let me tell you, I drop my weights all the time and I am an exercise professional. If I am having a day where I feel exhausted, I lower my weights as I know I can complete the workout better that way. As I progressed through my pregnancy last time I lowered them and will do the same this time too – once that baby gets to full term you don’t need much extra weight. On days when you’re feeling that you need less resistance then take it, it’s not a failure!
It is great when you feel like you can start to lift a bit heavier and that your strength is increasing but always be mindful of jumping up to a weight that is too far above your strength level. That is how injuries happen! Don’t go from 4kg to 8kg, try going up to 5 or 6 and seeing how that feels for a while before increasing again. So if you are a complete beginner lifting weights don’t be put off or nervous, start lighter and work your way up when you feel ready.
My advice would be to start with 3 or 4kg and see how you go.
These are my favourite dumbbells and the ones I always go with – they are the METIS Noeprene Hex Dumbells and come in weights of 0.5kg to 10kg and the colours are great.
Just make sure you are not comparing what you’re lifting to anyone else!
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