When should I increase the amount of weight I lift?

When should I increase the amount of weight I lift?

Increase the weight once you lift more than your target number of repetitions.

Increase the amount of weight you lift when:
  • you can lift it 1-2 more times (repetitions) than your goal.
  • you can do this on 2 separate, but consecutive occasions.

A general recommendation is to perform 8-12 repetitions of any particular strength training exercise. This is one of five basic strength training rules.

For example:

Let’s say your goal is to perform 2 sets of 12 repetitions for a particular exercise. Increase the weight you use when:

  • you can perform 2 sets of 13 or 14 repetitions.
  • you can do this on both Monday and Wednesday (the two days you lift).

At first, you may only be able to perform 2 sets of 6 repetitions with the new, heavier weight. Gradually work your way up to performing 2 sets of 13 repetitions again.

American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Position stand: Progression Models in Resistance Training for Healthy Adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2002;34:364-680.

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