Gym Rat: “I can bench 300lbs man”
MuscleHacker: “So what, are you expecting a round of applause or something?”
The logical, commonsense advice I will share in this article will take you to your goals faster than the majority of lifters you’ll see at your local gym.
One newbie question that always comes up is,
“How do I know if I’m lifting the right weight? I can’t lift as heavy as the other guys at the gym”
Answer: It doesn’t matter.
Whatever weight that allows you to fail somewhere in the 8-12 rep range is the right weight for you.
There’s one fact you need to burn indelibly into your mind…
Your muscles do NOT know absolute poundages
Don’t be in a rush to lift as heavy as the other guys. If you do, it’s likely that you’ll sacrifice form and muscle stimulation in the process. You can therefore go months and even years without attaining your goal – and many people do!
One man’s 70lbs is another man’s 200lbs. Poundages are TOTALLY relative; you must do what’s right for you. The hardest thing for some people to hear is,
MuscleHacker:“You need to lighten the weight, you’re not stimulating the intended muscle at all”
Gym Rat: “Lighten!? but that’s taking a step backward”
MuscleHacker: “Is it really? How much have your arms grown in the past 6 months”
GR: “An inch, well half an inch, a quarter…some…I mean a little….a bit….”
MuscleHacker: “They haven’t grown at all, have they?”
MuscleHacker: “Lightening the load and actually hitting the muscle will ignite new growth, isn’t that a step forward?”
GR: “I guess so”
Inwardly he/she is thinking about what others will think and how crap it is that they have to go lighter if they want to fuel new growth.
They should be EXCITED though!
Their focus should now be on the fact that they are about to start actually progressing towards their goals, not wasting their time keeping up with the Jones’ at the gym.
Again, your muscles don’t know the numbers. They will, however, respond to a set done to failure with a weight heavy enough to allow failure on, or before, the 12th rep – ANY weight, it doesn’t matter – it’s relative to your current level of strength.
I admit that the main reason I got into the weight-lifting game was to look better. Like anyone who takes up an exercise program, their goal is to change their body for the better in some way.
Some guys train for strength, I don’t. I train because I like what it does to my body, strength increases are a nice side-effect though. This mindset will allow you to develop the body of your dreams as you won’t be inclined to get hung up on the numbers.
It is the minority of people who actually get to realize their dreams. It therefore makes logical sense to NOT follow the herd, to take the road less traveled, to do what the others AREN’T doing.
For my newbie friends, start as low as necessary to allow for good form and failure. Don’t concern yourself with what everyone else is doing.
For everyone else, progress with small increments week on week. When you can hit 12 reps on a given exercise, increasing the weight by too much will set you back a great deal. If you can go up 1lb at a time, do it. This will maintain the form and control conducive to muscle building. It reduces injuries and ensures that your progress continues unimpeded.
A clear sign that you have not heeded the above advice is the dreaded plateau. Many people will seek fancy techniques to overcome plateaus when what they really need to do is simply reduce the weight and get back on track. Progression and muscle growth will soon follow – no gimmicks, it’s the law of cause and effect folks.
I’ve said it before,
Real bodybuilders feel the muscle, not the weight.
P.S. No Gym Rats were harmed in the making of this article 😉
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