How do you know what weights to choose?
The truth is, finding the weight that feels right for you may take some trial and error. Here are 3 tips to help you choose the right weights for In the Gym: Strength:
- Start with a form check. This will help you know what good form looks like and feels like, especially for any exercises that are new to you. For the form check, choose a weight that is lighter than you think you’ll use and perform a few reps. Filming this set and watching it is a great way to check your form. Asking a trusted gym partner or professional to watch your set in-person is another great way to check your form.
- How to know when you should increase (or decrease) the weight: Finding the correct weight for each exercise takes a bit of trial and error. The perfect weight would allow you to complete the entire set with great form PLUS should leave you feeling like you could do 2-3 more reps of great form (you always want some left in the tank). If you feel like you could do 4+ extra reps after your completed set, the weight is too light. If you couldn’t do any extra reps after your set, the weight is too heavy.
- Be mindful of your breathing. If you find that you are holding your breath to complete reps, lower the weight. In general, you should exhale as you lower the weight towards the ground (eccentric part of a lift) and inhale as you move the weight away from the ground (concentric part of a lift). For example, during a bench press you’d inhale as you lower the bar to your chest and exhale as you push the bar away from your chest.
A weight you used one day may feel too heavy the next, and that’s normal! There are many factors – such as sleep, stress, and fueling your body adequately — that can affect how the weight feels. If it doesn’t feel good or you feel your form degrading at any time during the workout, it’s okay to drop down in weight.
Have questions or need help choosing the correct weight? Email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org!