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How to choose the right weight

“Choosing the right weight is something that a lot of people struggle with, but it’s so important because choosing the wrong weight can seriously affect your results when your main training is for muscle mass,” said Nick Mitchell, founder of the Global Personal Training Gym Business Ultimate Performance. “Most sensible muscle building exercise programs use a combination of tools to apply resistance, including barbells (in the form of barbells and dumbbells), machines, and your own body weight. Here we explain how to choose the right starting weight for the most important muscle building exercises so that you can see positive results faster. “

Body weight exercises

Lifting a significant percentage of your body weight is more difficult for some people than others. This is due to differences in body composition, which is a measure of the percentage of body fat and lean body mass (LBM) in your body. A common misconception is that LBM only refers to muscle, when it actually describes everything in your body except fat. In addition to muscles, this also includes organs, bones and skin.

We generally express body composition in terms of body fat percentage, e.g. B. 1

0% body fat. Two people can be the same weight but have very different body compositions. For example, someone who weighs 80 kg with 10% body fat has an LBM of 72 kg, while someone who weighs 80 kg with 30% body fat has an LBM of 56 kg.

Despite the same weight, the leaner person will almost certainly find it easier to perform exercises that raise a large part of their body weight, e.g. B. the hip incline or the split squat. To put it very clearly, they have more functional weight and less “dead weight”.

However, the slimmer person may still have difficulty learning the exercise technique. You won’t get very far with a Ferrari’s keys if you don’t know how to drive! For this reason, we recommend starting only with body weight for resistance in some of the more complex exercises we’ve listed below. Once you have achieved the rep goal and are happy with your exercise technique, you can increase the challenge by using free weights.

Free weight exercises

For some exercises, just lifting your body weight isn’t difficult enough. For example, you can only practice your press technique with your arms to learn the pattern of movement, but almost anyone can lift at least a small amount of extra weight. In fact, adding weight can even make some exercises easier to learn as it gives you something useful to push or pull against.

The two main types of free weights are dumbbells and barbells. The use of free weights gives you complete control over the path of movement. In free weight exercises, the goal is to choose a weight that will allow you to do one to three more reps than the target number for the first set. So, if your goal is to do ten reps, you should feel like you’re doing 11-13 on your first set. If you can only do nine repetitions or less, the weight is too heavy and you will need to adjust it accordingly. Conversely, if you could have done 14 or more reps, the weight is too light and you need to increase it.

The number of repetitions you can achieve in each set will decrease as your muscle fatigue increases. Therefore, you shouldn’t train to failure in the first set. If your first set pushes you to the limit or you fail to hit the rep goal, then the next sets are even less likely to hit the goal – and if you try, you’ll be close to failure in multiple sets that will increase the number of reps Probability of a technology failure and the risk of injury.

This is an edited excerpt from Principles Of Muscle Building Program Design: The UP Encyclopedia of Personal Training, Volume 1, by Nick Mitchell and Jonathan Taylor

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