Getting Stronger? 4 Key Indicators That It's Time To Increase Weights In Your Strength Training Routine - Bellefleur
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Getting Stronger? 4 Key Indicators That It’s Time To Increase Weights In Your Strength Training Routine

Increase weights

Getting Stronger? 4 Key Indicators That It’s Time To Increase Weights In Your Strength Training Routine

Strength training is a crucial component of any fitness regimen, whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just starting out on your fitness journey. One common question that often arises is when should you increase weights you are lifting to continue making progress and challenging your muscles. Knowing when to up the ante with your weights is essential to avoid plateauing and to keep seeing improvements in your strength and muscle mass. Here are some key indicators that can help you determine when it’s time to increase weights in your strength training routine.

1- Listen to your body

First and foremost, listening to your body is essential when deciding whether to increase weights. If you find that the current weights you are lifting feel easy and you can perform the exercises with little effort, it may be time to add more weight. Your muscles need to be sufficiently challenged in order to grow stronger, so if you’re breezing through your sets and reps, it’s a clear sign that you need to up the intensity.

2- Your form

Another important factor to consider is your form. As you progress in your strength training journey, maintaining proper form becomes increasingly crucial to prevent injuries and maximize the effectiveness of your workouts. If you notice that your form is starting to suffer as you lift heavier weights, it may be a sign that you are pushing yourself too hard. In this case, it’s better to focus on perfecting your form with the current/lower weights before increasing the load. 

3- Track your progress

Tracking your progress is key to knowing when to increase weights in your strength training routine. Keeping a workout journal or using a fitness app to record the weights you lift, the number of sets and reps you perform, and how you feel during each workout can provide valuable insights into your progress. If you consistently see improvements in the amount of weight you can lift or the number of reps you can perform, it’s a good indication that you’re ready to move up to heavier weights.

4- Set realistic goals

It’s important to set realistic goals for yourself and adjust your weights accordingly. Whether your goal is to increase your overall strength, build muscle mass, or improve your endurance, having specific goals in mind can help guide your progression in the gym. When you reach a milestone or achieve a particular goal, it may be time to challenge yourself by increasing the weights you are lifting.

Increase weights

How to increase weights…

Progressive overload is a fundamental principle in strength training that involves gradually increasing the demands placed on your muscles in order to stimulate growth. If you’ve been consistently lifting the same weights for a few weeks without any noticeable improvements in strength or muscle mass, it’s likely time to increase the weights. By progressively overloading your muscles, you force them to adapt and grow stronger over time.

For example: Your rep range is 8-12 reps for 3 sets (rep ranges and sets may vary according to the exercise and your goals) 

If you have a rep range of 8-12 reps on a particular exercise and on your first, second, and third set you make it to 12 reps or beyond, you should probably increase your weight. If you make it to 12 on your first, 11 on your second, and 9 on your third, stay with your current weight until you begin to reach the higher range for the second and third sets (then repeat the process at a higher weight).

If you make it to 12 reps on your first, 12 reps on your second, and 10 reps on your third, what should you do? There are a few different options. First, try increasing your weights next time and see if you can make it to the low end of your rep range for at least 2 sets (8-9 reps in this scenario). If you make it to 9 reps on your first, 8 reps on your second round, and 4 reps on your third set, perhaps you drop the weight for that third set (do as many reps as you can until the muscle is fatigued), and keep it heavier for the first two sets to keep challenging your muscles at the higher weight. 

Last, if you can only make it to 8 reps on the first round, and then under 8 reps for the second and third sets, then perhaps go back to the lower weight. When dropping to the lower weight, think about increasing your volume to 15 or more reps of the lower weight if you can easily make it to the 12 reps. Increasing the reps (volume) may help to bridge the gap between the lower and upper weight. 

In conclusion, knowing when to increase weights in your strength training routine requires a combination of listening to your body, maintaining proper form, tracking your progress, setting realistic goals, and applying progressive overload. By paying attention to these key indicators and being mindful of your body’s responses, you can ensure that you continue to make progress and see improvements in your strength and muscle mass over time. Remember, consistency is key in strength training, so stay dedicated to your workouts and be patient with your progress.

If you are struggling with your strength training routine or not seeing progression, please consult a certified personal trainer that can help you build a routine based on your goals.  

Jason Bellefleur
Jason Bellefleur is a multi-award-winning physiotherapist. Most recently, he was recognized as a 2016 Ottawa Forty Under 40 recipient and received numerous awards from the Orléans Chamber of Commerce (the 2011 Young Business Person of the Year, the 2012 Healthcare Professional of the Year and the 2014 Business Person of the Year awards). Jason is proud to be an Orléans resident and to raise his family in a bilingual community. He enthusiastically promotes local business within the Orléans area and frequently supports and participates in local events. Jason was recognized for his community involvement by receiving the Orleans 150 Community Builder award in 2017 by Ottawa-Orléans MPP Marie-France Lalonde. Jason firmly believes in high-quality one-on-one physiotherapy interventions. His treatment approach emphasizes hands-on intervention, continued client education, and active involvement by the individual to help them reach their full potential. By opening a clinic that offers 'Higher Standards of Care,' Jason wants his patients to feel confident that they receive the highest level of patient care available. As a result, he is also preventing injury and helping to improve their health and well-being.

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