Leading fitness advisor Eleni Constantinou reveals everything you need to know about progressing your lifts in the gym!
Have you been on a training plan for a while now, and the results seem to have levelled off?
Or your weight lifting routine has become easy and you’re no longer feeling that pump after a session like you was when you first started and now you’re wondering if you should increase your weights?
This is a sign you’re ready to lift more weights!
By increasing resistance you’re making your muscle work harder than it’s been accustomed to. This ‘overload’ will results in improved strength as the body adapts to the stress you’re adding to it.
Here are some pointers to help you with increasing overload
Start with a lighter weight, get a feel of the exercise performing ‘proper form’. From here, gradually work your way up to performing a few reps at a time until the weight challenges you to slow down or not complete the full rep range. This weight is a goods starting point.
You may ask, “How often should I increase my weights?”
Well, as your body adapts to the rep rate, say, 3 sets of 8-10, you will gain a better understanding of knowing when a weight has become too easy.
I like to use the last few reps on a set as a good indicator. So say you’re doing a set of 10 reps on a squat, and the reps 8, 9 and 10 were quite easy and you performed them with little struggle at the end, you could have done another 1, 2 or 3 more reps?
Then thats a sign it’s time to go a heavier.
On the other side, if you struggled and could barely finish your last couple of reps with good form, then you are NOT ready to increase the weights on this exercise. Just keep at it until those final reps feel easier.
Another question you may ask, “How much weight should you add?”
The key here is to increase weight slowly. If you are rushing the free weights such as dumbbells, the progression is fairly simple, just jump to the next weight up (usually 2.5 kg in most dumbbell sets).
Many machines will have the same increments, so it's just about moving up slowly and using the last few reps as a gauge to determine if you’ve found your new weight.
Most importantly, keep a log
It’s such a valuable tool to assess your progress and knowing how far you’ve come in your fitness journey. Simply track your exercises, reps and sets as well as the weight used for each.
Fitness logs help you to determine what area you may need to work more on.
Jotting down notes on each workout can help you know when you were at your best/worst. So like, ‘got 8 hours sleep last night and workout felt fret today.”
The Bottom Line, there comes a time in your training journey where light weight can be a waste of time. Embrace the challenge and push yourself for the last few reps of each set, and see how that can jump start your results to change your body for the better.
A program that works for you
Ultimately, it is all about putting together a program that is right for you - your body weight, shape, your tendencies, your lifestyle, and your goals, and that’s where I come in.
If you would like to discover more about how I can help you as a fitness advisor, do not hesitate to get in touch!