Every trainee in the begining struggles with this…
Choosing the correct load, or how much weight to use on a lift.
The answer without thinking too much?
Use a weight that you can complete the number of reps in the program with PROPER form!
Here’s an example. Your program calls for 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions on the barbell back squat. You’d choose a weight that you can do for 10 reps but no more than 12, max 13 reps on the first set.
What usually happens here is most men will pick a weight that’s too heavy and most women will pick a weight too light. This causes men to cut the range of motion and end up doing quarter reps (ego lifting). And women aren’t actually training hard enough to stimulate any type of change to the body.
The Principle of Progressive Overload
As for increasing the weight, do this whenever possible. The body does something cool, it adapts to what gets thrown at it. So for constant progress, you need to continue to challenge yourself.
While a 2.5-5 lb increase may not seem like much on a deadlift or squat, it’s massive on a bicep curl or an external rotation. The great thing is, this is what Micro Plates are for, allowing for smaller increments (0.5 lb to 2.5 lbs in 0.5 lb increments). That’s why at OBF, we carry the right tools, like Micro Plates.
The Kaizen Philosophy
The Japanese have the Kaizen philosophy, meaning constant and never ending improvement. Micro Plates allow for very small and consistent weight jumps in your exercises. If your 10 rep max on the squat is 100 lbs, a 5lb increase being 5% might be too much.
Going up by 2 lbs or 2% is more manageable from 1 session to the next, this allows continous progress. For a smaller muscle like the biceps, a 5lb increase could be as much as a 25% increase…that’s huge. To ask anybody to be 25% stronger, that’s not an intelligent way of training. Now if we can add a 0.5 lb, that would be much more manageable.
Bottom line is, increase your weight too fast can lead to plateaus.
But if you are able to add only 0.25-0.5 lbs to your weight each week, that’s a 13-26 lb increase in a year. This is a great way to increase both your strength and help change your physique much faster.
It’s much easier to progress with smaller increments than large jumps.