Strength training is about more than looking great. Lifting heavy weights benefits are numerous. They include boosting your endurance, losing weight, and increasing your bone density, which helps prevent bone loss as you get older.
But strength training can be intimidating. You might wonder, how much weight should I lift to gain muscle? Or, when do I need to increase lifting weight to continue getting stronger?
Whether you're new to weight lifting or looking to up your muscle mass, keep reading to learn what you need to know about increasing weight during strength training.
Understanding Progressive Overload
In order to figure out when to increase the amount of weight you're lifting and how much to increase it by, you first need to understand the idea of progressive overload.
Progressive overload is a term used to describe how our muscles need to be stressed to grow.
That's because each time you put tension on your muscles, they adapt to that tension. In doing so, they strengthen. If you keep putting the same amount of tension on your muscles, they won't need to adapt, and won't grow.
To build muscle, you need to increase the amount of weight you're lifting. But if you increase too quickly, you risk stressing or straining your muscles, which can cause painful injuries that will also result in a setback in your strength goals.
Determining whether you are achieving progressive overload is easy; ask yourself whether you feel doms. What is doms? Doms is delayed onset muscle soreness that comes on between 24 hours and 72 hours after a workout.
When doms set in, it means your muscles have been stressed and are strengthening in response to that stress.
Deciding When to Increase Weight and By How Much
Now that you understand progressive overload and the need to increase the amount of weight you're lifting, it's time to determine how much to increase by and when.
Everyone's body is different. One individual might gain muscle or recover from a workout faster than the next.
But without a background in physical fitness or athletic training, designing a custom strength training schedule is a challenge.
Luckily, there are plenty of plans available that can help you decide on the right weight lifting routine for you. These plans are usually compiled on a weightlifting progression chart.
You can use this chart to determine when you need to increase weight and by how much. Many of these charts also include guidelines on diet, cardio exercise sessions, and more designed to help you reach total-body-fitness or to increase your strength as fast and effectively as possible.
Some weightlifters choose to skip complicated progression charts altogether. Instead, they rely on their bodies to tell them when a weight feels too easy or comfortable. When that happens, they increase the amount of weight, at regular intervals that don't feel as though they are overstressing their body.
Mastering Strength Training 101
Now that you understand strength training 101, it's time to get started on your weight lifting routine.
One great way to increase muscle mass fast is with a home gym. If you don't have to get out to a gym, you'll be more likely to stick to your workout plan. Plus, you'll be able to squeeze in workouts any time during the day, allowing you to build muscle faster.
If you're ready to start building your home gym, check out our selection of strength equipment today.