How Much Weight Should I Be Lifting?

The amount of weight you lift is best dictated by your fitness goals of strength, size or endurance - and not your weight or height.

Fairly often, I get emails from guys and gals with a common question: Based on my weight and height, how much weight should I be lifting?

As it turns out, there’s no magic formula. Instead, the amount of weight that you lift needs to be based on your goals. More specifically, it’s based on the number of repetitions that your goal necessitates.

Here’s how it breaks down:

  • If your goal is strength for a given muscle group, then you’ll want to complete 1 – 6 repetitions of each exercise.
  • If your goal is size (or size and strength) for a given muscle group, then you’ll want to complete 7 – 12 repetitions of each exercise.
  • If your goal is endurance for a given muscle group, then you’ll want to complete 12 – 15 repetitions of each exercise.

Since you’ll want to be fatigued on the last repetition, the number of repetitions clearly dictates the amount of weight that you need to lift. For example, if I were training for strength, I could perform 5 bicep curls with 65 pound dumbbells. But if I was training for endurance, I’d need to opt for 45 pound dumbbells to complete 15 solid repetitions.

Also, keep in mind that in order to progress toward your goals, you’ll want to add more weight over time. If you find yourself getting too comfortable (or able to perform two extra repetitions on your last set for two consecutive workouts), it’s time to increase the weight.

You’ll often hear people say that you should be able to curl or lift or press a certain percentage of your bodyweight, but here’s the truth: The amount of weight that you use is best dictated by your fitness goals of strength, size or endurance – and not your weight or height.

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.

Comments

  1. Travis E. says:

    Sound advice Davey! I actually was looking for feedback on some sort of formula to the weight/rep ratio. Now to implement that into todays arm/core workout. Much love!

  2. Good post. I’d also add that the amount of weight you life for whatever rep scheme is individual to you. Don’t worry about what everyone else is lifting and focus on breaking through your own records.

  3. Absolutely the right answer! Everything depends on your goals.

    The same thing applies to nutrition, as well, of course. (I’m sure YOU know this, Davey, but a lot of people forget it!) You have to eat differently if you goal is to get lean than if your goal is to get bigger.

    I see way too many guys at the gym, lifting heavy weights for hours a day, who complain that they aren’t getting any bigger.

    I ask them, “How much carbs are you getting in your diet?” They say, “I don’t eat much carbs at all!”

    That’s why they aren’t getting any bigger.

  4. as it stands now i am working for this production company which makes fire doors and frames, and all out of 44mm/54mm/56mm thick chipboard and majority of the doors are quite wide so it makes it very hefty. ive been there four months now and i must say that my strength has progressed well. Its like doing 10hours of gym sessions in a day so in a week im doing about a months worth strength training, but i do need to balance it out with some push ups and cardiovascular.

  5. What about sets? How many sets should you do?

  6. christopher says:

    im going for the overall look-and ive increased weight on individual machines and free weights.thanx for the info.

  7. Tommy Hogan says:

    who cares

    lift as heavy as you can

    The strength/size/endurance goals thing is total GARBAGE!

  8. hey all, The best results that I have ever had was with Red hot slim (just google it) Without a doubt the most useful diet that I have ever tried.