How to choose the working weight?

Optimum weight of a rod for muscle growth

Choosing the right working weight of a barbell or dumbbell when doing exercises is one of the main points of successful strength training. The small weight will not allow the inclusion of mechanisms for muscle growth, and an excessively large increase in the risk of injury by reducing control over the technique.

At the same time, the worst thing you can do to determine the working weight is to focus on the people around you in the gym. If someone makes a 40-kilogram biceps or performs a bench press with 80 kg, this does not mean that you need the same working weight.

An introductory course of strength training for beginners - all about how to gain muscle and create the perfect sports body.

Relationship of muscles to the brain

Watching a pumped athlete perform an exercise with a huge weight, the beginner makes a seemingly logical conclusion - for the growth of muscles, larger working weights are needed. However, this is only the external side of the training. Actually, the activation of muscles is important, and not just the lifting of a heavy rod.

The development of neuromuscular communication between the brain and muscle fibers is the first step necessary to create a sporty physique. In simple terms, this is not just an opportunity to strain the muscles by effort of will, but also the ability to maintain the muscles in tension while doing the exercises.

Which weight is better to swing the biceps?

Training biceps is one of the examples when too much working weight does not allow the beginner to feel the direct work of the muscles. As a result, when lifting the rod on the biceps, the main work is not performed at all by the hands, but by the musculature of the body and even the lower back, provoking the appearance of pain.

To find the right weight for training your biceps, start with exercises with dumbbells. Take a 5-6 kg dumbbell and perform 12-15 repetitions - if the repetition was easy, increase the weight by 1-2 kg, and if you notice that the technique of the exercise is broken, lower the weight.

Working weight and calculation of the number of repetitions

It is necessary to understand that the limit of repetition of the exercise recommended in the training programs is a direct indication of the working weight. If it is a question of performing 12-15 repetitions, then the use of moderate weight is implied. If you are talking about 5-8 repetitions, then you will need a heavy bar.

At the same time, the working weight should be such as to allow the exercise to be carried out at the lower limit of the recommended number of repetitions. On the next workout the muscles will become stronger and you will add 1-2 repetitions, and when you reach the upper recommended limit, increase the working weight.

How much does the bar weigh?

The key to determining the correct working weight is to record this weight in the training diary. If today you were able to perform a bench press with 40 kg in 8 repetitions, then the next time you need 42.5 kg and 6-7 repetitions - it's just impossible to keep such details in mind.

Calculating the working weight, it is important to consider not only the weight of the extra pancakes on the rod, but also its own weight. The standard Olympic bar weighs 20 kilograms, but often there are variations for girls weighing 15 kg. The weight of a typical EZ-bar for biceps is usually 6.5 kg.

Rod type Weight of the rod Dimensions
Olympic rod 20 kg The diameter of the neck is 28 mm, the length is 2.2 meters.
Women's Olympic bar 15 kg The diameter of the neck is 25 mm, the length is 2.05 meters.
Rod with EZ-neck 6.5 kg Different diameter, length - 1.2 meters.

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How to learn to feel the muscles?

In order for the muscles to grow successfully, not only a large working weight is important, but the most correct technique of performing the exercise and the full involvement of the working muscle. In turn, certain combinations of exercises allow you to more strongly involve the trained muscle in the work.

Pre-exhaustion is a method of increasing the involvement of pectoral muscles. Directly before the bench press, a set of dilutions of dumbbells or information on the blocks is performed. This will wear down the pectoral muscles and complicate the performance of the main exercise, but it will make the chest more involved in the movement.

Muscle pain

It is often thought that the characteristic burning sensation in the muscle is a sign of its inclusion in the work. However, this is not always the case. Despite the fact that extensions to the triceps from dumbbells, performed with a slope of the body forward, quickly provoke a burning sensation in the muscle, this is a deceptive signal.

In this exercise, the burning sensation does not result from the fact that the triceps is involved in the work, but because of the limitation of blood circulation in the hand( the muscles are literally squeezed).That's why for triceps workout it is better to use push-ups on uneven bars with body weight.


To choose the correct working weight for the exercises, it is important not only to learn how to feel your muscles, but also to observe the recommended repetition limit - first you have to work at the lower limit, gradually increasing the number of repetitions, and then the working weight itself.