Natalie Hodson
June 15, 2016
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How do I Know How Much Weight I am Supposed to be Lifting?

One question I seem to get so often, especially from women is “how do I know how much weight I’m supposed to be lifting when I am working out?” This is a really good question and it is one that it took me a while to figure out myself when I was first starting working out. I feel like as women, we tend to look at weight lifting as a “man’s sport” and it can be intimidating to know where to start, how much to lift, and how hard to push yourself so I thought I would talk a bit on what has helped me get the muscle definition that I have. (If you are a man, these same tips apply to you as well, this is just a concern I hear more from women).

How hard should I lift?
The key is that you want to lift to failure. And what that means is that say for example you are doing fifteen reps. By reps thirteen, fourteen and fifteen, you really want the weight to be heavy enough that you are struggling to maintain perfect form.

How do I know if the weights are too heavy?
You know the weight is too heavy if you get to reps eight, nine and ten and your form is already struggling, so you will want to drop your weight down to a level where you are only struggling to maintain your form on the last two reps.

Alternatively, if you are breezing through the exercise and you feel a little bit of a burn but it doesn’t feel strenuous, your weights are probably too light. Be accountable and truthful to yourself and challenge yourself to go up to a heavier weight.

Am I going to look bulky?
I used to be afraid that by lifting heavy weights, I would wind up being “bulky,” but I have actually found the opposite to be true. When I am lifting heavy weights, it creates denser muscle definition for me but it helps add nice muscle tone. I have never been accused of looking bulky, and heavy lifting is the one thing that helped me get that shape that I wanted and never got when I was just running a lot of miles or using light weights.

What if I don’t have free weights?
You don’t need fancy gym equipment to get a good workout in. You can always use things you find around the house as free weights such as soup cans, laundry detergent jugs, gallon jugs of water, wine bottles, etc. Mainly look for things that weigh a little bit more; you would be surprised how heavy everyday items can feel during an intense workout!


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