How to Safely Increase Your Weights at the Gym
"I'M FINDING THE BALANCE BETWEEN PUSHING ON WITH WEIGHTS AND MAINTAINING FORM..."
Of all the things my clients struggle with, whether I have trained them in person or online, it is always having the confidence to progress their weights safely. This feedback came from my client Helen, who's always wanted to be more confident with her weights and increasing them.
Women tend to play it safe when it comes to lifting weights. We find a few weights we feel comfortable and confident with and then we tend to stick with it.
Unfortunately that means our results start to slow down or stop all together. Our muscles need the stimulus in order to grow. Every time I tell a client we are lifting more, or hand them a bigger weight, the response is almost always the same.
"Are you sure?"
Instantly they question themselves and their ability. So how do we address this?
If you think you might be playing it a bit too safe with your weights, here's what I want you to do...
1. Stick with the weight you are using until you can do 12 repetitions and feel like they were manageable and maybe you could have even done more.
2. Pay attention to each set, the aim is for the last 2 reps to be challenging.
3. Once you feel you can progress, drop your reps to 6 or 8 and build yourself up on the heavier weight from there.
4. Focus on your form, good form and doing exercises properly when you're increasing the weight you are using is so important.
Next time you're in the gym and you think you're playing it too safe, try those 4 steps and see if maybe you could be lifting more when you're in the gym. If you try and up the weight but feel it feels too heavy, scale back down again. You have lost nothing by giving it a go.
Remember you can always ask for a member of staff or ask someone to spot you on the big lifts for a bit of extra support.
Lifting weights should be challenging.
To get the best results we want to use progressive overload, gradually increasing reps and weight to challenge the body.