When To Lift Heavier

When To Lift Heavier

It might be a trivial question to ask: how do you know when you should progress by lifting heavier load?

But the truth is, as you might hear often: “it depend”.

Before adding more load, ask yourself:

Can I maintain my technique throughout the set?
– Can I perform more good reps on my current load?

If you answered YES to both, then adding load is the next step.

People vary in how well they can handle weights across multiple sets. If your training program contains rep ranges, you’ll find there are a few ways to progress in load.

If you can do it, get all the work sets at the same weight. When you get all sets at same weight, add weight.

For example: Squat 4 sets of 6 to 8 reps.
Workout 1: 100kg x 8-7-7-6
Workout 2: 100kg x 8-8-7-7
Workout 3: 100kg x 8-8-8-8

(Add weight)

Workout 4: 105kg x 7-7-6-6
Workout 5: 105kg x 8-7-7-6
Workout 6: 105kg x 8-8-8-7

Others may find that their reps always drop off in subsequent sets, regardless of weight.
In this situation, when you get to the top end of the rep range on your first set with one to two reps to spare, add weight.

For those who do not handle weights across sets well, another great option is to warm up to your heaviest set, and then pyramid down on the next sets.

An example workout could be:
105kg x 8
100kg x 8
100kg x 7
95kg x 8

Equally as effective:
100kg x 8
105kg x 8
100kg x 7
95kg x 8

Same volume, different order.

In the above, you’ll still remain in the required rep range and will work on improving total work week by week, as well as your top set.

Note that if your program has specific rep targets, the same rules apply. In all examples, the key theme is progressive overload.

A rep here and there adds up over the weeks!


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