Weight training is more than just objective, one-size-fits-all numbers on a scale or figures on weights. We all have different goals, and different subjective reasons, for what we do. So, when you feel the need, or desire, to challenge yourself further with extra weights or reps, it’s important to keep these subjective things in mind.
Deciding when to lift more weights is a personal decision, just like the decision to take up weight training in the first place. What basis should this decision have?
Before we started training, we all took some time to look at our fitness goals. It’s a good idea to revisit these goals frequently, especially if you feel the need for an added challenge.
So, when considering a new workout routine, he first step is to take a look at the progress you’ve made so far. If you are satisfied with the progress you have made, whether it be weight loss, more endurance, more strength, or whatever, intensifying your current workout routine may be a good idea. If you are not happy with your progress, consider changing techniques altogether. The same thing applies if your fitness goals have changed since you last performed this little self-evaluation.
Look at the Numbers
Next, you should determine if your body is compatible with your fitness goals. In your other words, are your body and your mind on the same page?
Start with basic metrics, like ideal blood pressure ranges for your age, height, gender, and so on. If the numbers are even borderline high, think twice about a more intense weight training workout. Some other figures include your percentage of body fat. Advanced scales measure this number, because weight and/or BMI can be deceptive. To increase your muscle mass, if you aren’t doing so already, consider a protein or other dietary supplement, since many people who use them obtain better results.
The hands on a clock are almost as important as the numbers on a gauge or scale. How much time are you willing to commit to this endeavor? Be sure and calculate the total workout time, including the trip to the gym (if any) and the cool-down shower.
Progressive overload is a popular buzzword. Essentially, it means that you should push yourself, but not live by the “no pain, no gain” mantra that sounds good but really accomplishes nothing, especially in the long term.
A World War II-era doctor pioneered the concept as he guided injured soldiers through physical rehabilitation. Progressive overload not only builds muscle mass, but also adds bone density and some other essential items, thus fighting the body’s natural tendency to atrophy, especially as people get older and/or become more sedentary.
In a nutshell, pushing your body involves more weight and more reps. To avoid overtraining, which is essentially the law of diminishing returns, it’s best to incorporate rest periods in a stepped-up routine. Such a move lowers the risk of injury and also helps prevent emotional burnout. As for weight, most people start at about 75 percent of capacity. A 10 percent monthly increase is usually a good approach. Every fifth week, drop down to 50 percent of capacity, to lessen the aforementioned injury and burnout risks. The same thing applies to the number of reps.
By constantly reassessing your goals and sticking with a well-established training regimen, you should be able to meet, and exceed, your objectives.