Congrats on making the choice to add weight lifting to your exercise routine. Strength training is a great way to build lean muscle mass, which boosts metabolism and helps you carve out the toned figure you’ve always wanted. When you decide to start lifting, it’s important to not jump right in and pick up the heaviest weights you can find. Here’s how to figure out what pound load is perfect for you. Of course, you should always talk to your doctor before starting a new workout routine.
1. Test out the Dumbbells or Kettlebells First
Before you decide how heavy your weights should be, it’s a good idea to assess your strength by lifting a few of them of different sizes. You’ll notice pretty quickly that you’ll be able to tell if a weight is too heavy, too light or just right. Once you have a better picture of what you can probably handle, you’re well on your way.
2. Count Your Reps
You know you’ve found the perfect pound load for your weights when you can do at least 12 reps with that weight before it feels too hard to keep going. If you find that the last couple reps are impossible to complete, you need a lighter set of weights. If you can blast through 12 reps with ease, you may need a heavier set.
3. Keep an Eye on Your Form
Yes, you should be able to do 12 reps, and the last couple should be a bit hard to finish, but you shouldn’t be compromising your form. If your form does happen to suffer with the last couple of reps, you know your weights are too heavy and you should move to a lighter one to prevent injuring yourself or hindering your progress. You might look funny doing this at the store, but it will be so worth it.
4. Consider Your Goals
Do you want to get stronger? Maybe you want to cut some muscles? Or maybe endurance is your end goal? Whatever it happens to be will help you decide which weights are the right pound load for you. Heavier weights and fewer repetitions will help you get stronger and bigger, while lighter weights and more reps can help you get stronger, but also build endurance.
5. What Types of Exercises do You Plan?
If you’re set on building muscles in your legs, you may be better off using a kettlebell than a set of dumbbells. If you want to work on your arms, either choice is a great option. Consider what types of exercises you want to include in your routine so that you can choose the proper type of weight in the right pound load. A trainer can help you create the perfect routine.
6. You’re Going to Need to Increase Weight with Time
As you get stronger and the moves you do with your weights start to feel too easy, you are going to need to increase your pound load. Use the same techniques outlined above to choose your right increment. You may be able to go from 5 to 10 pounds, but you might be better off progressing to 8 pounds before going to 10.
7. You Have Other Options
Weights are a fabulous way to strength train, but if you’re still having trouble finding the perfect pound load, you could scale things back and use resistance bands or do bodyweight moves until you’re ready to pick up the dumbbells. Both are perfect alternatives to lifting weights and might be just the type of workout you’ve been looking for.
Do you lift weights? What other advice can you share?