How to Pick the Right Weight

Knockout Training Club Member doing a goblet squatOne of the most common questions new members ask is "what weight should I use for this exercise". Most people are understandably unsure where to start weight wise when it comes to lifting.  So here's a few tips on choosing the right weight for an exercise:

  1. Form first.  Mastering proper form always trumps going heavy! You perform the movement well before you add load. For most exercises choosing bodyweight is the best place to start.  Don't rush going heavy.  Loading bad movement just makes the movement worse and can lead to a lack of results or injury.
  2. Figure it out. Once you've mastered a movement or are at least familiar with it, have safe form and bodyweight doesn't seem to be a challenge any longer, it's probably time to add some weight.  Start light and figure it out.  LOL...I know that totally doesn't sound helpful, but it's true.  Part of learning to lift weights and making progress is gaining awareness of your body and limits.  So pick a weight, do the prescribed number of reps and ask yourself...."with good form could I have done 5 more?".  If the answer is yes go up a kettlebell of dumbbell size, if not stick with what you are doing until you hit that point.  It's not an exact science and over time you will know where to start with a variety of exercises.
  3. Focus on you. Never pick a weight based on what someone else is doing.  Everyone is different and needs different weight for the same exercise.  The weight you use is based on your form, strength and mechanics.  

Some examples of where to start once you master bodyweight:

Overhead Pressing:  Women 2-8kg, Men 12-16kg
Squats:  Women 8-12kg, Men 16kg

Deadlifts:  Women 8-16kg, Men 16-24kg

Also it's okay to stop during a set if you feel the weight isn't appropriate for you (too heavy or light) and make adjustments.  You won't get the weight selection right all the time.  The first week of each training block is our "acclimation" week.  That means each workout of that week you will be trying different weights for the prescribed exercises to figure out what to stick with.

Once you've been training with us for a while you will get an idea of what your starting weights are for various exercises, but you must then begin to take into account the difficulty of the variation of each exercise and rep range.  For example, a standing overhead press is "easier" (meaning you can lift more) than a half or tall kneeling press.  You can use your training logs from previous months to get an idea of where to start but don't forget that body position also plays a role in choosing the right weight. And if you can overhead press 12kg for 5 reps, you may only be able to do 8-12kg for 10 reps.  

We want you to learn about your body and take ownership of your training.  Become aware of what proper form with different movements feels like and discover when it's right for you to increase weight.  But if you have questions, remember you can always ask your coach. 

ps. We want you to get stronger and look your best without getting injured so if we coach you to use a weight lighter or heavier than you are comfortable with, please follow our guidance.  One of our jobs as your coaches is to push you out of you comfort zone....sometimes that means doing less and sometimes that means doing more

If you are looking for a coach, a community, and a program that will help you achieve your goals request a complimentary workout today!