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What weights should I be lifting?

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HOLD YOUR HORSES …Before ever trying to figure out how much weight you can lift, make sure you know how to do the movement, as flawless as possible, without any weight at all as to not cause any injury… then you can add in weights.


The second step? Picking the right weights. Here’s how to figure out whether your weights are too light or too heavy:

Test Your Strength

You’ve adequately warmed up…Next up: Deciding between barbells and dumbbells. That’s going to depend on the workout. Barbell works well for deadlifts and squats where as dumbbells are more flexible and easy to manoeuvre.

As a rule, you’ll want to work with a lighter set and a heavier set of dumbbells during your workouts. Heavy weights will help build muscle mass and make you work harder; while lighter will stabilise the muscle with a more gentle workout.

To figure out which size dumbbells are best for you, there’s a simple test that anyone can use. It involves a bicep curl — but it will help you determine the size of the weights you’ll be using for just about any dumbbell exercise.

The Dumbbell Test

Start with a set of two 3-4kg weights…stand with a weight in each hand, near hips, palms forward. Shoulders and elbows should be pinned against the wall. Without moving upper arms, curl weights up until dumbbells are shoulder level, then lower to starting position. Aim for 14 to 22 reps with good form (shoulders flat against the wall, raising arms for a count of two and lowering them for a count of two).

If you can’t maintain form before reaching 14 reps, pick a set of weights lighter and try again. If you can easily do more than 22 reps, pick a set heavier. This determines your lighter set of weights. Add another 1kg on each and that’s how much you should be lifting when reaching for a heavier set of weights.

ALWAYS make sure you are comfortable and feel safe in what weight you are lifting.

Ready to go?!

Try this Lift Lean with Rachel Holmes workout:

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