Find the Right Weight for Strength Training

University researchers in the Midwest wanted to find out if beginner exercisers were lifting the right amount of weight when exercising. They studied 30 men and women, asking them to choose their weights for five different exercises. The majority of the participants chose weights that were too low (42% - 57% of their One-Rep Max) to result in any physical gains. 

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The One Rep Max (1 RM) is the highest possible weight you could lift on a particular exercise if you only did one repetition. When strength training, you should be lifting a weight that is about 60-70% of this 1 RM. While a trainer could help you figure this out, here’s an easier way: With a bit of trial and error, find a weight that you can lift (with proper form) at least 8 times, but no more than 15. As you get stronger, and reach 15 reps, it’s time to increase your weight again.
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Member Comments

CATNAP629
thnaks Report
Appreciate your information Report
thank you Report
MUSICNUT
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
Thanks Report
JUDO50
Thank you! One of the best, If not the best advise/article on choosing the PROPER weight when just STARTING OUT. Report
thanks Report
I tried doing this once with chest presses and chest flies and ripped my pec muscle! Yes, we do still have to be very careful when lifting heavier weights. So, in my opinion anyway, this 1 rep max could be potentially dangerous to you Report
I tried doing this once with chest presses and chest flies and ripped my pec muscle! Yes, we do still have to be very careful when lifting heavier weights. So, in my opinion anyway, this 1 rep max could be potentially dangerous to you Report
Good info Report
Injury is the enemy second greatest enemy of the exercise habit. At 72, I would recommend error in choosing weights too conservative and progressing up rather than trying to find out what a maximum lift is for a particular exercise. Of course not getting off the couch is the greatest enemy! Report
Thank-you I needed this to go in the right direction. In the beginning I attempted to lift too heavy of weight and it caused a delay in my workouts because of an injury. Now I am pleased with my progress. Report
Thanks, info that I needed.
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About The Author

Nicole Nichols
Nicole Nichols
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.