Whether you just started strength training or you're a weight room regular, you've probably wondered how much weight you should be lifting.
Most of us tend to grab the weights that are... on the lighter side.
Finding the time to lift weights regularly is an accomplishment on its own, but you could be seriously short-changing yourself if you're not challenging your muscles with a heavy enough weight!
You have to push your muscles to have them adapt and grow in order to reap all the benefits of strength training.
So, are you lifting heavy enough to achieve your goals?
Here are 3 major signs that you need to be using heavier weights at the gym!
1. You Finish Your Reps Pretty Easily
Each time you do a rep, you should feel some slight resistance in the muscles you're training.
You should be able to move the weight pretty easily at the beginning of your set. But if you feel little to no burn, especially towards the end of the exercise, that's your sign that it's time to grab heavier weights!
Your weights should provide a challenge and should make you focus on pumping out those last few reps, instead of mindlessly flying through your workout. The goal should be to have the last few reps of a set be hard, with the very last rep being difficult to finish (with good form!)
2. You've Used the Same Weights for Months
The weight you're lifting should start feeling easier after a few weeks of training. This is because you've trained your muscles to get stronger and have more endurance!
Believe it or not, some people know that the exercise feels easier and never increase their weights!
As your muscles adapt to the weight, it's important to start challenging them with more resistance so they can continue to grow. Progressively adding more difficulty into your workouts is the best way to avoid hitting a strength plateau and keep seeing the results you want from strength training!
3. You Don't See Any Results
The size of your muscles doesn't always match up with your strength.
If you've been focused on strength training, you should be able to see some difference in your muscles after a few months of challenging strength training. If that time comes and goes without any muscle growth to show for it, you likely aren't lifting heavy enough to stimulate muscle growth!
Don't forget that progress comes in all different forms!
The person you see in the mirror may look the same, but you may have increased your muscular strength or endurance. Did that flight of stairs not leave you as breathless as it did last month? Is it easier for you to carry in those heavier grocery bags? Consider it a sign that you can start kicking things up a notch in the gym!
Weight lifting is a great way to build muscle, gain strength, and improve your overall functional health.
It's good to use a challenging amount of weight while training, but don't sacrifice good form for more weight!
Using heavy weights with poor form significantly increases your risk of injury. Don't be afraid to ask a certified trainer at your gym to help spot you or for advice on which weights to use!