How to choose weight for training - a simple guide

The basis of any workout in the gym is the working weight and the number of approaches. These are two inextricable concepts, and therefore we will consider them within the framework of one topic. Below we will analyze the principles and rules of weight selection for different categories of students.

For those who are in the gym for the first time

If this is your first time going to the gym, you need to consider your training. Often she is not at all.

How to determine the working weight in this case? So far, no way.

How to choose weight for training - a simple guide

That’s why people go to swing, which is “already impatient”. Therefore, the first training is a very important point. If you get a bad impression from (or after) her, the second time you will not come here.

Usually, the number of approaches and weight are chosen by the trainer.

Wait a minute! Does the trainer have the necessary education, courses? Or is it just a homegrown jock who has achieved rapid progression in bad ways? They must be afraid.

The first training should be introductory. We recommend not picking up weights yet, but taking what is currently not difficult for you. That is, if it is a bar - then one that you can easily lift. You will be lifting the bar several times, therefore even the weight that seems too light for one concept will give a noticeable strain on the muscles.

This is important not only for beginners, but also for children weakened by a long break.

So, why it is important to work with minimum weights in the first training session:

  • Your muscles do not know what “iron” is.
  • You still don't have enough stamina.
  • You do not know the technique of doing the exercises.

Simply put, you can easily get stretched, or your muscles will hurt a week after training.

Believe me, after such a second time you are unlikely to want to come to the gym.

How to choose weight for training - a simple guide

Proper weight selection on the first visit is an empty bar for a bench press, 2-5 kg ​​dumbbells for other exercises. If you want to squat - an empty bar. Learn the technique! And if the trainer tells you that the weight is light and needs to be added, do not listen to him. This is the first training.

There were many cases when after such a coaching a person has a fever for a week, and he cannot either bend his arms or straighten. Why do you need this?

The first training session is a minimum of weights. The same goes for the number of approaches. We recommend doing 2 approaches. But the program can be taken from the trainer.

Or let the coach show you what to do that day.

Example for beginners

The trainer told you to do 3 approaches for all exercises. Reps 10-15. Your task is to do 2 sets with the same number of repetitions. For a bench / squat / stand it is better to take an empty bar or add 10 kg.

Flexion-extension of the arms, dumbbell press - 5-6 kg. And isolated shoulder exercises are best done with 3-4 kg. You will understand why.

If everything is very easy, it’s most likely that you’re doing it wrong.In the case of dilutions of dumbbells across the sides, for example, if it is easy for you, then most likely you bend your arms very much, or do not turn your elbows up.

Wrong technique - easier to do. Remember!

After a long break

After a forced break in training, we recommend that you take 2 approaches, instead of 3 or 4. And take weights 50% of those with which you were engaged when you were still training. Yes, muscles will hurt after training. Strong.

But not so much that you drop out of the schedule for a week.

In the future, you will gradually return to your working scales and begin to progress.
Start small and increase weight in each approach: for a barbell - by 10 kg, for dumbbells - by 2. You definitely won’t miss!

Example for a bench press

Warm up - an empty neck, 20 times. We hang 10 kg, we make an approach.

We hang 10 more, we work. And so we get to 60 kg. If it became difficult in some approach, then you do not need to increase the weight in this workout. In the future, when it becomes difficult, add 1-2 kg and look at the result.

How to choose weight for training - a simple guide

Weight gain during training

Now you know where to start training for the first time or after a long break.


And what to do next? And then we will learn to listen to our body and predict the right weight.

The principle of any progress is to work at maximum, "to failure." The state of “failure” is a special sensation when you can no longer do a single repetition. Failure may occur earlier than planned if you choose too much weight. And later, if you made a mistake in a smaller direction.

For muscle growth, failure should occur within 6-12 reps. If less - you work for strength, if more - for endurance. Therefore, the weight is selected so that you can do at least 6 repetitions, but cannot do more than 12. How to guess this weight? Trial and error.

The first approach in any exercise is a warm-up.

For example, before the bench press you take an empty bar and do 15-20 repetitions with it. At this point, you can already feel how easily it goes with you. You can compare this feeling with a previous workout and roughly calculate the weight for this.

When you start working with light weights and gradually increase them, at a certain moment you will receive that precious number of kg with which you will work “to failure”. You need to come to this.

From training to training, this weight will increase. Slowly, but it will, believe me. Thus, when the desired number of repetitions (6-12) and this weight will be given to you easily - a good sign to add 1-2 kg to the bar. Or increase the number of repetitions, if you do them less than 12. And then all the same, increase the working weight, returning to the previous number of repetitions.

Immediately pick up the right weight, especially during the first training - the mission is impossible. That is why we start small. And the body itself decides what it is a lot of, and what just right.

Dependence of weights on training goals

When selecting weights, you can focus on the following criteria:

  • If your goal muscle and mass growth - failure should occur at 6-12 repetitions, as mentioned earlier. If you come, let's say in the eighth repetition - try to do the next workout 9.

    Then 10, 11, 12. After overpowering 12 approaches - add weight to the bar.

  • If your task is to increase strength - weights are taken more significant. Failure should occur up to 6 repetitions. And repetitions in approaches need to be done a little.

  • If you work on endurance, working weight is reduced so you can do more repetitions. Failure should not occur at 12 repetitions, but at 30. In general, it’s better to run. In your case, it is important to choose a sport, not the amount of kg.
  • Recovery from sprains requires small weights.

    For a very long time (months) you need to deal with small weights, strengthening healed ligaments. Haste is dangerous and impractical.

How to be a girl

No matter what gender you are. The mechanism of muscle progress is the same for all. Just the weights will be different.

A man squats with a weight of 100 kg, and a woman - 30-50, for example. The feeling is the same, the refusal is the same. The principles are the same, so feel free to use the above recommendations.

How to choose weight for training - a simple guide

A separate article on our website is devoted to the selection of dumbbell weights for women.

What to do during the plateau

When you do not feel a surge of strength for a long time, and your results barely keep at the same level, this means one thing - you have reached the plateau of your capabilities.

Strength is not growing, there is no progress. A bad mood and weak self-confidence often leads to a "rollback" of power.

Now you need to be patient and work hard in the gym. Let the weights be the same. Try to increase them by 0.

5 kg, at a minimum. Redefine your lifestyle. Maybe it’s not a matter of training at all?

There is an opinion that to overcome the plateau during training, you need to lose working weight. As a rule, this option is good for those who take pharmacology, that is, for professional bodybuilders. Therefore, just be patient and keep the level that you have achieved.

In 90% of cases, progress will come.

Practical tips

  1. Keep a training diary. It should include the date of the lesson, the name of the exercise, the number of sets and reps done, and weight. You can choose the right working weight based on your own records. Your diary is the best adviser with what weight to start training after a break, or where to start the next workout.

  2. Do not sharply increase weight. Many among beginners do this: at the first training, they shook an empty bar (20 kg), and at the second, already 50 kg. This is stress for the muscles. Not every person will easily survive this. It is optimal to take a step of 10 kg.

    And if you have already practiced, you can raise the working weight by 40 kg in 4 sets. At the same time, you will find out what your muscles are capable of now.

  3. When you immediately take the weight you want in your opinion, you may be mistaken.That is, choose a heavy weight bar. This will cause you to get tired before work approaches end.

    There is no need for persistence - remove a couple of pancakes from the bar.

  4. To work "to failure" in the first training is very dangerous. Like the second one. The body should get used to the load for a month. During this period, your task is not to chase the scales, but to work out the technique.

    If you can do more, that’s good (that’s what often happens). Work on movements, strengthen ligaments.

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