Mostly everyone who goes to the gym or joins wants to build muscle and lose fat. Each individual has different body composition, strength, and endurance. Now you have to decide whether you want to build strength or build muscle or both. This will be helpful before you decide how much should you lift.
Before telling you how much weight you should lift, you should be aware of CNS fatigue. CNS stands for Central Nervous System, which controls our body mechanically. It impacts our performance physically and mentally. Although CNS is active and working round the clock, it is activated and loaded the most when a person performs big compound movements like squats, deadlift, etc where more than 1 muscle and joint are involved. CNS activation is comparatively lesser when you are performing isolation movements like the bicep curl, calf presses, etc.
So, to make sure you get the most out of your training session and you empty your tank completely, always start with compound movements and then finish your session with isolation movements. This simply means selecting exercises based on high to low CNS fatigue. You have high energy when you enter the gym and that’s the best time you can lift heavy load for maximum CNS activation. Even before deciding on what weights to be lifted in the gym, ordering the exercises is important to make sure the rep ranges and progressions are set further in the session correctly.
So coming back to the topic – you need to perform certain reps with a certain amount of weight which will not take you to failure. Ex- Dumbbell bench press 3 sets of 10, over here you have to lift a weight which will take you to failure on your 12th rep but you have to stop at 10th rep. This allows you to complete your 3 sets properly with the same intensity and completes your volume training for bench press.
So what’s the conclusion? Nobody can tell you how much you should lift. Your body doesn’t understand how much weight you’re lifting, it only understands the labour. Strength differs from person to person, so the difficulty level should be around 7-8 out of 10. Going for failure too often can hinder your volume training and recovery.
Yashovardhan Singh is a fitness coach with GetSetGo Fitness and a former national football player. He likes to keep a no-nonsense approach to fitness by applying scientific literature to provide results to his clients. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org for coaching.