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When To Increase the Weight

November 21, 2008

Increasing weight too soon is bad because more injuries, poor form, and being unable to complete the exercise with control are issues.

Not increasing soon enough isn’t bad, but you’re not getting full value of the time you’re spending.

Increase your weight when you’re able to lift what you’re lifting safely with good form and with control. Then move along to heavier weights. Don’t get stuck with low weights forever.

Some people increase or decrease from one set to the next based on if it was too easy or too difficult. Others decrease weight and do reps to muscle failure, decrease again and go to failure. Others increase and go to failure, increase again and go to failure. But if you’ve got a set rep amount to hit, you might not be doing that.

Now, then there’s me. I’m lazy. I hate changing the weights on the bar and rarely do I even change my dumbbells during a routine. Yeah, that’s laziness. I admit it, that’s the first step to recovery, right? Anyway, if I can do all sets and reps with good form, I up my weight. But on my next lift day. If I have 60 seconds or less between sets, I feel it makes more sense for me to stick with the slightly low weight and get it done than to stop, reset my bar, and then continue. So I’ll do all sets with the same weight usually. If it’s hard but I’m using good form, I’ll up it my next time. If it’s easy but my form is bad, then I’ll still leave the weight low. Form IS important. I’d rather take extra time getting it right than take months off because I was stupid and hurt myself.

I almost never use weight that is too easy because every lift day I’m marking down what I need to increase for next time, what was too hard (and sometimes need to decrease). Usually if I increase, I’m not able to do all my reps for all sets right away. Sometimes for the first set or two I can, then the next set or two I fatigue or my form suffers and I have to stop early. Usually when I up weight, it takes 2-3 times before I up it again. Sometimes faster, sometimes slower. Just depends.

So that’s my very exciting post on my rationale for increasing my weight :). Hey! Stop snoring! It’s not THAT boring!!!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. judie611 permalink
    November 22, 2008 6:49 PM

    At my gym, I take a class called “Body Pump”. You are encouraged to have different weights with you and the instructor will say “OK, we’re going to do lunges next, so you may want to increase your weight.” I need someone to tell me what to do! Ha!

  2. November 23, 2008 3:14 PM

    That’s why I like my logs, so then I know what I did last time and I mark if it’s “too easy” or not after I’m done with each set. In classes, it’d be hard to write down what you used last time and if it was too easy because of the faster pace of classes. I did something similar to the class you’re talking about ages back. It was fun, but way too early in the morning! The later one I couldn’t make because of work.

  3. November 24, 2008 7:17 PM

    I usually take the time to increase my weights. But now that you bring it up, I don’t know if I’m doing more harm than good by prolonging my resting period. I guess if the weights were just WAY off and were WAY too light. But maybe if you feel you can only pound out a couple more reps at a slightly heavier weight, it makes more sense to just keep it at the same weight and rest the appropriate amount of time. Hmm…

  4. November 25, 2008 5:53 AM

    Don’t think it’s harmful to wait at all to increase. Even I wait too long! Especially if my form isn’t good, don’t want injuries :). Being able to do all my reps for all my sets is probably not neccessary either, but I’m lazy and absolutely hate to change my weight during a workout :).

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