Fitness Articles

4 Signs You Need to Lift More Weight

When and How to Increase Your Resistance

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When I was a Wellness Director for a YMCA I overheard a member ask my fellow director to help him adjust his workout regimen. He just “wasn’t getting anywhere” despite being very committed and diligent to his workouts. This was a very normal request from a member so my friend thought nothing about it and scheduled an appointment.

When they finally met, the member brought along with him a thick stack of stapled workout charts, which he had used for the past three years. (As I said, he was diligent, but also highly organized!) The director was shocked, not because of the years of detail, but because this member had never increased the weight or number of repetitions he lifted since his first introduction to the fitness center equipment. For over three years, he had done the same exercises, lifted the same weight, and performed the same number of repetitions day after day.

The fact that he wasn’t seeing results wasn’t entirely his fault, although the reasons were obvious to the director. The member simply did as he was instructed on day one, and no one had taught him the importance of progression in his strength training program. Are you stuck in a strength training rut too? Find out!
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About The Author

Jason Anderson Jason Anderson
Jason loves to see people realize the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle. He is a certified personal trainer and enjoys running races--from 5Ks to 50K ultramarathons. See all of Jason's articles.

Member Comments

  • I have been using machines at the YMCA and have not known when to increase weight. Thanks very helpful. - 5/22/2016 1:47:44 PM
  • I actually already follow these. I used to do the machines, and still do sometimes, but mostly use the free weights now and workout with my boyfriend. My problem is I really need to write down the weights I'm using for each exercise because it varies so much, each time I go I have to think "how much did I do last time?" I think I know my own body pretty well for what I can handle, and when (have to use lower weights that time of the month, but the week before I feel super strong). I've been focusing on compound exercises so it takes less time at the gym. Although I'm not quite sure how to enter bodyweight exercise info into my tracker if I can't put "0" weight. - 2/14/2016 12:46:10 PM
  • After reading this article I think I will increase my weights. The ones I am using are not usually taxing. Thanks SparkPeople for posting this article. - 1/28/2016 3:13:37 AM
  • Maybe through SparkPeople I'll do a weight training set long enough to need to increase the amount of weights I use. I tend to do weight training a couple of weeks and it falls by the way side. - 1/14/2016 8:40:09 PM
    Awesome article!!! Looking forward to do this!!! I own weights stuff at home...thanks for excellent advice!!! :) - 12/31/2015 9:29:03 AM
  • Yes, great suggestions! More weight to fatigue muscles and fewer reps. The range is between 8-15 reps. It is up to how your body feels. If it hurts don't do it. - 12/30/2015 9:24:16 PM
    So AGE has got to have something to do with increasing weights. I am 70 years old.
    I ride my bike (causal) 2x's a week, power swim (2x's a week) and 'work out' (2x's a week) and on the 7th day I rest. I must CUT BACK on the number of reps if I go from say 10lb weights to 12lb just gets too difficult and I stop at pain. Suggestions?
    - 4/19/2015 8:08:54 PM
    You know your weights are too light when you can do more than 10 reps in a set. - 4/18/2015 10:03:10 PM
  • I am thankful I was introduced to http://wwwQuality here in Tucson. I have been training with them since April, and this husband and wife team are VERY knowledgeable, and have been so helpful in my actually gaining muscle! I actually AMAZE myself!!!! - 11/9/2014 9:39:29 PM
    Excellent advice! - 8/7/2014 11:14:08 AM
  • I have been attending a gym here since March, that is all about Quality Strength. I started out with very little weight, and could not fathom lifting anything heavier, yet today I am up to 44 lb. in my dead lift, and 20lb. each barbell dead lift. Not easy, but I could have done ALOT more. My instructor promised I was going UP next week. I have been advanced since March, and the progress is phenomenal....AND I am almost 70! - 6/4/2014 10:50:31 PM
  • Great article! - 1/22/2014 2:50:58 PM
  • The body adapts to what it is doing. If someone lifts 5-pound dumbbells, then their body will adapt to lifting 5-pound dumbbells. That is a very good thing compared to doing nothing, but there is a lot of space for further improvement! - 10/13/2013 5:54:59 AM
  • Great article. I have to get back into lifting weigh. - 9/2/2013 2:16:52 PM
    You are only limited your mind. i don't buy the there are limits. Go for the big weights they are fun.

    Set a goal and work towards it. If at 52 I can do 1125lbs on the reclining leg press anyone can work their way up. - 4/9/2013 4:56:41 PM

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