How Much Weight Should I Lift?

Author: Shannon Miller

If you were inspired to take up weightlifting after reading the recently posted article “Pump That Iron,” here’s a further look at how much weight you should be lifting.

As with most things in life, balance is key!  You want a weight that forces you to work, but not one that causes you to strain.

According to an article written by certified personal trainer and nutritional adviser, Eduardo Dias,* the following tips can help the novice woman weightlifter work with the appropriate amount of weight:

  • Do 2 sets consisting of 15 to 20 repetitions each.  Use moderately light weight.  Moderately light means that when you are doing your final repetitions, you will feel that you are doing some work but not a lot.
  • A few weeks later, move up to moderate weight which means that after you have done a set, you feel as though you could do some more repetitions.  Stick with 2 sets, 15-20 repetitions each.
  • If your goal is to tone up, do 2 sets consisting of 10 to 15 repetitions each.  Increase the weight to moderately heavy: you are giving almost all you have to finish a set but you could probably do 1 or 2 more.
  • If your goal is to gain muscle and strength, do 3 sets consisting of 6 to 10 repetitions each.  Increase to heavy weight: you can do each repetition with good form but you couldn’t push yourself to do even one more without breaking form.
Try these tips out and find the weight that works for your goals!

*Eduardo Dias,  “How Much Weight?  How Many Reps?”  Fitness, 6 Jan 2011.

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