Weightlifting for Smarties: Loading on the Pounds


Whether a person is trying to lose weight, build muscle mass or raise their endurance levels, it is important to know how to increase weight amounts effectively when weightlifting. In most cases, increasing weight amounts gradually will produce the best results. The key is learning how much weight to add and how often the amounts need to be increased. Every person is different when it comes to their physical needs and requirements.

So, When is it a Good Time to Increase Weight When Weightlifting?

1) Know Your Goals

weightliftingBefore starting any exercise routine, it is important to know what goals are trying to be reached:

  • If muscle gain is desired, increasing weight amounts effectively entails adding more weight per rep.
  • For weight loss, minimal weight is needed unless you are trying to gain strength and build muscle.
  • If the end result is endurance, more reps, and modest weight amounts will help increase your stamina and allow you to maintain a sustained level of activity for longer periods of time.

Once you know what you want to achieve, it is easier to design an exercise program that will help you get where you need to be.

2) How Much Weight Do You Actually Need?

The amount of weight needed will depend on your physical limitations. Someone who is extremely active and exercises on a regular basis will require more weight to start than someone who has lived a rather sedentary or inactive lifestyle.

  • A person who is new to lifting weights may be able to lift only a few pounds when they first begin their lifting program. Most trainers suggest adding weight only after the amount of weight being used has become relatively easy to master after several series of reps have been included.
  • For an avid weight lifter, the amount of weight used to begin a program may be as much as 30 to 40 pound, again depending on the person’s physical limitations and capabilities. A person who is well conditioned will be able to increase pounds when weightlifting rather quickly compared to someone who is in the process of building more muscle tissue.

3) The Battle: Weight Vs. Reps

An important concept when it comes to increasing weight amounts effectively is knowing the benefits of weight versus reps.

  • Increasing the number of reps improves a person’s endurance, allowing them to remain active for longer periods of time.
  • When the amount of weight is increased, muscle mass is created. More muscle mass means increased strength.

When reps and weights are increased simultaneously, both strength and endurance are improved.

Many training methods call for a combination of exercises that revolve around alternating increasing both weights and reps. Strength training, for example, deals primarily with the increasing weight amounts in an attempt to gain strength. Part of the process, however, is maintaining a set amount of weight for a specific amount of time while reps are increased. This allows the body to gain muscle while endurance is established gradually.

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