I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to work in an industry that I love. Helping people to achieve their goals and work with some incredibly talented and determined individuals is an amazing way to earn a living.
Throughout the course of a week, whether I’m in the gym or in the office, I get asked all sorts of questions by all sorts of people on all sorts of subjects. Some I can answer, others I can’t.
One of the most common ones is “what weights should I be lifting?”. It is genuinely amazing how often I am asked this. The thing is, I can’t realistically give any figures to answer this effectively, no matter who asks it.
It sounds like an easy question to answer, but I can only really go on how close to failure you should be approaching for each set. Instead of a definitive answer, here are my guidelines:
To find out what weight is right for you, it is simply a case of trial and error.
- If, for example, you need to hit 10 reps and you only hit 8 with the 20kg on the first set, then drop the weight back a bit.
- If you hit 8 and it was to failure, when trying to achieve 10 on the last set, then “good work”. This means you are utilising intensity effectively.
You will know your body better than I ever will. You’ll know how close to failure you are when exercising. Remember though, there’s a fine line between knowing your limits and over-exercising. I want you to stay on the right side of that line.
Be honest with yourself when you’re training. As much as you’d like to think you can lift everything in the shortest possible time, always keep in mind one of our guiding rules. Consistency with effort.
If you need to drop the weight a little, that’s ok. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Far from it. You’ll get it the next time, or the one after that. It will come with hard work, determination and patience. Everything always does.