It’s no secret that lifting weights is a great way to get in shape. When you combine weight training with cardio work, you have an awesome combination of fat-burning components all happening at once. Isolating one from the other will never yield the same benefits as combining the two together.
But do you know your weight limit? Are you lifting too much weight? Are you lifting too little weight? You really have to ask yourself one question first: “What are my fitness goals?” If you want to lose weight or body fat off your body, weight training (along with cardio work) can help eliminate pesky body fat by building lean muscle tissue to attack the fat. If you want to simply get stronger, obviously weight training and resistance training are necessary. Weights, like dumbbells, kettlebells, and cable machines are great for adding muscle simply because of the challenge. Once you decide what your fitness goals are, to know your weight limit is the seconds step.
So how do you know your weight limit? It’s all about form and number of repetitions. If you decide you want to increase how much weight you curl to get bigger arms, your goal rep range is going to be between 5-10 reps. You have to do a little experimenting at first. You can either grab some dumbbells you think are around your max and give yourself a little one or two max rep test. Grab the dumbbells, get your posture correct, and curl the weight while keeping perfect form (the same is true of any exercise you are trying to perform or increase strength). Once you find your max, you can do a little math and decide what 75% of your max may be, and begin lifting with that weight for 5-10 reps. The other option is to simply pick a weight and perform the reps. If you can’t finish 5 reps without losing form and bending backwards, bringing other muscles into play, than the weight is too much. Likewise, if you perform 10 reps and feel no fatigue, the weight is too light. If you can easily perform 10-20 reps with a particular weight, you are training in the muscular endurance range. This type of training helps maintain current strength levels and tone the muscles. For true strength you are going to have to push the weight and find a weight that only allows for 5-6 reps with perfect form. Once you can lift this weight with good form for 10 reps, it’s time to add weight.
But what if your goal is simply to build lean muscle and not “bulk up”. Women have this goal often, but it also can deter them from lifting weights at all. Women do not have testosterone levels anywhere near men (on a normal basis), so lifting weights will not “bulk” women up or make them have giant muscles. That being said, you can still know your weight limit, because you don’t have to lift weights that only allow 5-10 reps. Whether you are female or male, you can have the same goals. If you want to tone, know your weight limits and keep the weights light and the repetitions high, and you will be on track to reaching your fitness goals.
You can easily lift too little weight if you are performing 20-30 reps, perhaps after some time of lifting the same weight, and feel very little fatigue. You need to continue to increase the weight, while keeping the rep range the same (15-20).