When first starting to work out, or even getting back to the gym after a long absence, it’s difficult to determine exactly how much weight someone should ideally be lifting. No need to worry – there are two established techniques for determining the amount of plates you should be loading on the bar without risking injury and furthermore maximizing efficiency.
1. 1RM Method
This is the most widespread method for determining one’s ideal weight. To calculate it, one must first find the maximum weight that they can complete for 1 rep, also known as a 1 Rep Max. 60-70% of that weight should equal the best weight to exercise with for multiple repetition/sets. Don’t forget to take into consideration that this number is a rough estimate: if 70% seems just a tad too heavy, don’t hesitate to jump down closer to 60%.
2. Trial and Error
While it seems dead simple, many people seem to forget that you can adjust the weight as many times as you like. Eye it out and start at a weight that seems like it suits you. Not breaking a sweat as you pump out 12 rep sets back to back? Try throwing some more weight on or grabbing a different dumbbell. Are your arms giving out after just the second rep? Reduce the weight. Leave your ego at the front door when you step into the gym – everyone has their own pace and level. One thing is for certain: you can’t progress if you’re injured!