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Old 03-12-2008, 07:40 AM   #1
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Question Weights

Hi all,

Ok I am not sure if this is a dumb question or not, but of course I will still ask it
Anyways, I have been doing strength training with 5 pound weights for the past two months. So my question is, how do you know when to move on to heavier weights? Is it after a certain amount of time, or when you don't find it challenging with the weights you are using?
Thanks for everyones help in advance!
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Old 03-12-2008, 08:39 AM   #2
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I usually work out in 3 sets of 8-12 reps. I'm not sure what your set/rep scheme looks like, but I like to use that sort of mid-range instead of a very high-rep range (15+ reps per set). I think a good way to figure out whether or not you want to move up to a heavier weight is: test it out! If you think your 5 pound DBs are too light (and they probably are), test out the next weight range. If you can get through 3 sets of 8-12 reps without failing, then you're good. If the last few reps of each set are really hard, that's an even better sign. If they're not, try something a little heavier.

When I started "lifting" (and I use this loosely--because I feel that until I began lifting heavier things, I wasn't lifting at all), I was using 5 pound dumbbells (DBs). I eventually found that I was a lot stronger than I thought I was, and that high-rep training all the time wasn't ideal. I'm currently using 20 lb DBs for most DB movements, though sometimes 15 or 10 lb ones (depending on which muscle groups I'm using--some are stronger than others!).

Ever carry a gallon of milk one-handed? That's about 8 pounds right there! Ever carry something heavier than a single gallon of milk? I'm willing to bet you have! Women don't seem to give themselves enough credit when it comes to strength Women who have small children and spend all day lifting their kids and setting them down, who use 3-pound DBs when they work out drive me nuts! Girl, you've been lifting a 30-pound kid all day long--I KNOW you can lift more than 3 pounds at a time! Sorry if that's kind of a tangent, and you may or may not have kids, but you're stronger than you think you are! Try it out!
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Old 03-12-2008, 05:38 PM   #3
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Girl, you've been lifting a 30-pound kid all day long--I KNOW you can lift more than 3 pounds at a time! Sorry if that's kind of a tangent, and you may or may not have kids, but you're stronger than you think you are! Try it out!
Great answer, azure!
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Old 03-12-2008, 08:47 PM   #4
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Hey Congrats on the weight loss so far!

I hope that I can help answer your question. To keep seeing changes you should continue to increase the weight as often as you can. Overloading the muscles with progressive resistance is key. Think about it - when you first started doing an exercise with the 5lbs dumbbells (let's say chest presses for example) you might have only been able to lift the weights say 10 times before you were fatigued. After a few workouts though it becomes easier and easier to lift those 5lb dumbbells 10 times. When you first started out with that weight the body wasn't used to it and had to adapt. Your muscle tissue breaks down when you lift weight and then grows back stronger so each time it is going to feel easier and easier. Now that your body is saying "hey this is pretty easy"...now it is time to bump up that weight. Your body is stronger and needs more weight to get that same stimulus you got when you originally started? Does that make sense?

How often and when to increase the weight is entirely up to you but I will share with you some of the different ways I have gone about doing it:

1) Touching upon what Azure said if you wanted to do say sets of 12 reps then once you are able get to 12 reps in good form (or whatever # you decide) then the next workout increase 3-5 lbs....

2) I usually go with the strategy above but sometimes I find that when I really have been stuck at the same weight a long time and can't get the desired # of reps with the next highest weight I will just go up to the the next highest weights anyways. Sometimes this is more mental than anything. For example - the heaviest I ever attempted doing dumbbell bench presses was 30lb dbs and the most I ever did was maybe 5 reps. Most of the time I used the 25lbs. Mentally I just avoided the 30s thinking they would be too heavy since I could do no more than 5 reps. Well a couple months ago I got sick of being stuck at the 25s and decided no more 25s I am just going to use the 30s. Even if I can only get 2 reps, so what. Eventually I started doing one more rep every couple weeks and now I am up to the 35s and doing the same process all over. Bottom line = it's okay to do less reps at a heavier weight and work your way up. In fact I think this strategy has helped me more than the first.

It's all about intensity so use your best judgement and keep up the good work. Hope that helps!
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Old 03-13-2008, 03:19 PM   #5
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Hi everyone,

Thank you all for your answers, I appreciate the quick responses! All your answers were very helpful and I know now to start increasing my weights now.
Wish me luck! haha
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