Strength training is a key part of fitness that shouldn't be ignored, especially when it comes to weight loss. But just because you know you should be doing it doesn't mean you know exactly how to do it yet.
If you just don't know where to start when it comes to strength training, Ridge Davis, personal trainer based in West Hollywood, CA, is here to save the day. POPSUGAR spoke with him about how much weight you should be lifting if you want to see your body composition change.
"For women just starting out, I always suggest choosing a weight that you can perform 15 repetitions with great form, can feel the proper muscles contacting and burning, and that are challenging to perform when you reach repetitions 12-15," Ridge explained. "I like this method because it allows you to practice and fine tune your form with more repetitions, and build a mind-to-muscle connection with the exercise."
If you're just burning through squats or bicep curls and you don't really feel much challenge at the end of the set, you're not lifting heavy enough. On the flip side, if you can barely get through eight reps without grimacing and panting, you're probably going too heavy.
But why is it so important to find the right weight? Well, it could mess up your fitness or weight-loss goals if you don't.
"If you lift too light, your muscle fibers aren't undergoing enough stress to create physiological and metabolic change in your body," Ridge told POPSUGAR. "If you're lifting too heavy (meaning only getting two to three reps in with mediocre form and only working out for six months or less), your muscles have a very high risk of spraining, tearing, and bruising. Also, your tendons and ligaments will suffer from injury due to premature loading." Convinced yet?
If you still need some extra guidance, Ridge shared the weight goals on certain exercises he does with his clients. "For barbell back squats, I recommend every female being able to squat her own body weight for 10 repetitions," he said. "For dumbbell goblet squats, 80 percent of your weight for 10 repetitions."
When it comes to deadlifts, Ridge recommends aiming for 150 percent of your body weight for 10 reps, and for bench press, 60 percent of your body weight for six to eight reps.
Obviously, these are not numbers you need to be aiming for at the very beginning of your weightlifting program. These are goals to gradually and safely work toward. Take your time, start slow, but just make sure you're feeling really challenged with those last couple reps!