You’ve been going to the gym five days a week every week, and you’ve even started strength training. Good for you! However, while routine is good, switching things up by adding more weight, may be even better. Contrary to popular belief, lifting weights won’t make you bulkier, but how much should you actually be curling and swinging? Here’s what you need to know about choosing the right weight for your workouts.
Lifting weights: Uplevel your fitness game
It might be time to step up your weight game—how did you decide five pounds was the correct weight for your fitness level in the first place?
“Adding extra resistance in the form of weights, whether it’s dumbbells, barbells, or kettlebells, is the most efficient way to challenge your muscles,” says Liz Barnet, head instructor at Uplift Studios in New York City. “Only through strength and resistance training can you increase muscle density, which is essential for achieving a ‘toned’ appearance, and keeping your body working effectively.”
Read: toned, not muscular, ladies. Just because you decide to add on more weight doesn’t mean your going to instantly bulk up (not that there’s anything wrong with bulking up, if that’s what you’re working toward!). If that were the case, body builders wouldn’t need to spend half as much time working on their size and fitness. “There’s a misconception that lifting weights will make you look huge and muscular, when in fact having more muscle density will raise your metabolism higher and therefore burn more calories and torch fat,” says Barnet.
Barnet suggests giving yourself an assessment: Choose an exercise and weight you feel comfortable with. You should be able to perform 10 to 15 repetitions with good form. If you feel like you could do more than that, it’s time to up the weight.
“If you’re an experienced exerciser, you should increase weight when moves you are familiar with feel easy after 15 to 20 reps,” she advises. “Increase by no more than five to 10 percent every few weeks.”
thumbnail courtesy of shape.com