How to choose a working weight for your workout?

How to choose a working weight for your workout?

How to choose a working weight for your workout?
How to choose a working weight for your workout?

Choosing a work weight for your exercise is one of the keys to a successful workout. Low working weight will not allow the mechanisms of muscle growth to be activated, and too much will increase the risk of injury due to reduced control over the technique.

In this case, the worst option would be to imitate famous athletes or random people from the gym. Just because someone does 20 kg of biceps or does a bench with an 80 kg barbell, doesn't mean you need the same working weight.

//  Working weight for bench

Observing how the inflated athlete performs an exercise with a huge weight, the beginner makes an unambiguous conclusion - the more working weight in the exercise, the better. However, this is only the outside. In fact, it is important to consciously activate muscle fibers, not just lift a heavy barbell or dumbbells.

The development of the neuromuscular connection between the brain and the muscles is the first step needed to build athletic physique. You need to learn to feel that the strength exercise is performed by the trained muscle, not just by the force of inertia.

When lifting weights during basic barbell exercises (squats, bench press, standing press, deadlifts), it is advisable to start with an empty barbell. The increase is allowed only when you can safely perform 12-15 repetitions. In turn, the maximum weight is the weight with which you can do no more than 5-6 repetitions.

How much does the barbell weigh?

When calculating the working weight, it is important to take into account not only the weight of the bar pancakes, but also its own weight. The standard Olympic barbell weighs 20 kg, but there are light variants weighing 15 kg. The curved biceps barbell EZ is usually 6.5 kg.

Olympic barbell:

  • weight - 20 kg
  • dimensions - neck diameter 28 mm, length 2.2 m

Olympic barbell for women:

  • weight - 15 kg
  • dimensions - neck diameter 25 mm, length 2.05 m

EZ tape (for biceps):

  • weight - 6.5 kg
  • dimensions - different diameters, length 1.2 m

How Many Pounds to Swing Your Biceps?

Biceps training is an example in which the heavy workload does not allow the beginner to feel the direct work of the muscles. As a result, when lifting the biceps, the main work is done not at all by the arms, but by the muscles of the body, neck and even the lower back, provoking the development of chronic pain in the spine.

To find a working weight for a biceps workout, start with dumbbell exercises. Take 5-6 kg of dumbbells and do 12-15 repetitions - if these repetitions were easy enough for you, increase the weight by 1-2 kg. However, if you notice that you need to strain your body and bend over, reduce the weight.

Working weight and calculation of the number of repetitions

It should be understood that limiting the repetitions of an exercise recommended in training programs is a direct indicator of the amount of work weight. If we talk about performing 12-15 repetitions in an exercise, then the use of moderate weight is assumed. If we are talking about 5-8 repetitions, then a heavy barbell is required.

In fact, the working weight should allow you to perform the exercise at the lower limit. In the next workout, the muscles will become a little stronger and you can add 1-2 repetitions without gaining weight. The working weight should only be increased when you reach the upper recommended limit.

How do you feel your muscles work?

Beginners often believe that the characteristic burning sensation in a muscle is a sign of its involvement in the work. However, this is not always the case. Despite the fact that the extension of the triceps with dumbbells, performed with the body tilted forward, quickly provokes the appearance of a specific burning sensation in the muscle, this is a deceptive signal.

When performing dumbbell extensions, the burning sensation does not arise at all from the fact that the triceps is actively involved in the work, but due to the restriction of blood circulation in the arm - in simple words, the muscle is compressed. That is why it is better to use back push-ups to train the triceps.

Rules for safe training

Another important point when choosing the working weight is the constant control so that the joint of the working limb is in the joint capsule. For example, when lifting dumbbells to train your shoulders (both on the side and in front of you), you should pay attention to the fact that the arm does not "go" too far from the body.

Keep in mind that a shoulder injury can easily prohibit strength training for months. With this injury, you will not be able to do virtually any exercises that involve your arm - that is, exercises for the biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest and even the back.

The speed of muscle recovery also plays a role. Large muscle groups take up to 48-60 hours to regenerate - more frequent workouts can lead to injury.


When choosing a work weight, it is important not only to learn how to feel your muscles, but also to follow the recommended limit of repetitions - you must first work on the lower limit, gradually increasing the number of repetitions, and then the work weight itself. You also need to check that the joint is in the joint capsule.