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How do you choose the weight you lift?

Dara Singh Handa
Dara Singh Handa
I have witnessed two types of people when they start working out. The one who overestimates and the one who underestimates. The overestimator goes to the gym and looks at the buffed guy who's been training for a decade and tries to mimic his heavy lifts. His only purpose is to brush his ego by moving heavy weights hal way mostly with a bad form. The underestimator on the other hand thinks even using pink dumbells with a slightly off form would injury him/her. He wants to be soo safe that his training is mere a walk in the park. However choosing the right weight is always important to make the strength training routine productive. You can curl a pencil all day but you won't grow at all. 

How do you choose the weight?
It's always trial and error intially. First you pick a rep range you want to train around. Then you pick a weight and see how many reps you can do with it. Assume you have to do X reps(you can put any number 6-25 in place of X as per your plan). You pick a weight you think you can do for X reps for that exercise. When you actually perform, let's say that you were only able to do 2 reps lesser than X. This implies weight is heavy for you and you should reduce to be around X reps. If you did more reps than X with the weight easily, then the weight is relatively light for you. You need to pick a weightthat you are close to failure around X reps. 

Training safety and mitigating excess stress

You should avoid reaching a point where you cannot move the weight at all(failure). Stop at a point which is close to failure, around 2reps before the failure happens. This is the point when you actully start feeling that you are putting too much effort and will not be able to do more than 2-3reps. Reach around that point, stop and do all the sets with this weight. Keep a track of how many reps you did with how much weight. No matter how much you think you remember, you won't be able to remember everything as you'll do lot of exercises numerous times.