Why do you go to the gym and train?
Is it for a performance goal? Or maybe it’s aesthetic and involves achieving a particular look? Or maybe you’ve been injured and are looking to stabilize a vulnerable joint, eliminate a compensation and return to play.
Whatever it is you are working towards there are probably a few constants that apply to everyone.
This would be that we are all want:
1. Maximum results
2. In the least time possible
3. In the safest way possible
But there is a common mistake being made when it comes to training that prevents maximum results, takes longer than it should and leads to injuries.
This mistakes is that people tend to use improper loads. By loads I mean the amount of weight on the bar or the dumbbell being used.
I know it’s a generalization but women tend to use weights that are too light. This is for fear of getting injured but also probably an even greater fear that they buy into the myth that lifting heavy weights will make women big and bulky.
This is simply not the case. Some of the strongest women we train with are anything but big and bulky.
And guys don’t think we’re without fault.
Guys tend to lift more weight than they can handle because they buy into the myth that the only way to get bigger and stronger is using heavy weight. They ignore the science behind the process of anbolism (getting bigger) and try and use weights that they think will get them to their goal sooner.
So what’s a guy or girl to do?
How much weight should I use to challenge myself and still be safe?
Well the first step would be know what you reasonable handle for 10 reps in a particular exercise.
Knowing this we can quickly and easily figure out what load we should be using to on each set of almost every exercise we use. And I’ll explain in a moment why I say ‘almost’.
How can we know this?
By using a 1 RM calculator. RM stands rep max and 1 RM is the amount of weight we could move 1x for that exercise. To figure out your 1 RM perform 10 reps of a particular exercise and then plug this number into a 1 RM calculator. A quick google search will provide a tool to convert your 10 reps into a load you theoretically could lift once.
Depending on the calculator you use there could be a range of percentages for 10 reps. This percentage could range from 70-75% of your 1 rep max in order to complete 10 reps.
So which one is it? 70% or 75%?
The more experienced of a lifter you are the lower the number you can use.
And this applies for almost all your lifts except deadlifts where you don’t set the bar down and relase your grip on each rep. This is because if you don’t release the bar on each rep there is the tendency to bounce the bar off the floor for every rep after the 1st.
This will give you a false sense of the strength you believe to be developing because only on the 1st rep do you do a true pull from a bar at rest on the floor.
So look to test your lifts to see what you can do 10 times. Then plug these theoretical maxes into your training program and you can quickly figure out what your loads should be for everything from 1 upto 15 reps.
There will be less guessing each time you walk in the gym. Every weight you touch will feel exactly as it should it on the last rep. Challenging but not so difficult you alter your form or can’t complete a set.
okanaganpeakperformance.com ‘always moving forward’