my golden rules for choosing weights
🎇New Week, New Post!🎇
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Today I'll be sharing how to figure out the weight you should be using while you're at the gym. This post is going to be geared towards a workout plan that takes place in a gym with heavier weights rather than at home with body weight.
Let's get started!
Choosing the appropriate weight can be a bit of a guessing game, and that's OKAY! As long as you are not wasting too much time figuring out where you should be. To make this easy, I've compiled my 3 Golden Rules for choosing your weights in the gym. Below you'll find the rule, an explanation of what I mean by the rule, and then how I personally implement the rule in my fitness routine!
*the rules listed below are by no means the only way to get successful results or to choose your weights. many other methods exist! these are simply what i have found to work best for me, my training style, and my goals (gaining muscle mass in legs and booty!)*
Tae's Golden Rules for Choosing Weights!
#1: The weight should be challenging.
What I Mean: If you can finish a set without breaking a sweat, getting out of breath, or feeling like a part of your body was going to fall off, your weight is too light. By the second to last rep in your set, you should be asking questioning if you're going to make it. *This is a really good point for beginners! If you have never done weighted exercises before, you ARE going to have to guess what weight would be challenging for you at first. So choose a weight, do a few reps of the exercise, and adjust (based on this rule) as necessary!*
What I Do: I'm honest! And that's the hardest part of this whole fitness thing: being honest with yourself. If you're not honest with yourself about how something felt, then you won't be able to push yourself as hard as you need to. If an exercise feels too easy or if I don't feel worked, I ALWAYS increase the weight. Even if I know it'll make it so much harder, because what's the point in putting in work if you're not going to give it your all? If I've never done a particular exercise before, I do what I said above: I guess which weight I would find challenging, then I test it out by doing a few reps of the exercise, and if it's too easy or hard, I add or reduce the weight! :)
#2: Write down your weights.
What I Mean: Keeping track of how much weight you used for each exercise will only make it that much easier to figure out your weight for the next time! It will also help you track your progress and you'll see how much stronger you've gotten!
What I Do: I have a mini notebook (that I decorated all cute with fitness sayings!😅) that I keep in my gym bag. This is where I write ALL of the weights I have ever done for every exercise. I start by writing down the actual workout before I even get in the gym. Then, I write down the weight I use for each set of each exercise. I even make notes to myself to increase the maximum weight significantly next time or if I was having an off day (i.e. not feeling well) so that everything is as accurate as possible!
I also write my weights a bit differently than other people. For compound lifts (like squats, deadlifts, anything with the bar), instead of writing the TOTAL weight, I record the weight that I put on each side of the bar. The only reason I do this is so I'm not doing a bunch of math in my head at the gym lol. It's much easier for me to look at my book and see that I put 95 lbs on each side of the bar the last time I squatted rather than figuring out what 235 lbs looks like (you gotta subtract the 45lb bar and then figure out how much to put on each side... simple math is not my thing lol).
#3: Increase your weight as time goes on.
What I Mean: There's many ways to vary your weight within a set (pyramid training, drop set, etc.), but I feel that if your goal is to gain some muscle mass, a general rule is to increase your weight over time. This can be done in the short term (i.e. increasing your weight within your sets) or in the long term (i.e. upping your weight the next time you do that exercise again).
What I Do: I currently utilize both the short term and the long term weight increase. For example, if I am doing 4 sets of 10 squats, I start at a challenging weight (usually the second heaviest weight I lifted from my last time doing the exercise, which I know because I write down all my weights😉) and then if I feel I can go heavier, I increase the weight in increments of 5lbs per set. If I feel like the weight is at a good point (as per above, I'm struggling to finish the set), then I will keep the weight the same. However, usually when I get to the final set, I split it, meaning I do half of the reps (in this case 5 reps) at what I think is the max I can handle, and then I do the last half of reps at 5 lbs heavier.😂 This sounds kinda crazy, but it works really well for me! It makes me push myself harder and I think mentally it's easier to think about doing "half of the reps" you would normally be doing even though you're increasing your weight!
If all of that was confusing, I made a cool decision diagram that shows exactly how I choose my weights! This diagram is based off of an example of an exercise that contains 3 sets!
Tae's Weight-Deciding Tree
(based on an example of an exercise with 3 sets)
Let's crush this week and sculpt these bods😎