How do I know I am lifting enough?

  • Buffrunner

    Posts: 1

    Feb 28, 2009 6:28 PM GMT
    Is there an easy and reliable way to tell that I am using enough weight when lifting? Some one told me that the muscles that I work should always be sore the next day. Is that true? And how can I tell if the exercise that am performing is effective? Thanks for you help, I am very new to this and would love any help that I can get.
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    Mar 01, 2009 7:10 AM GMT
    Your muscles don't HAVE to be sore the next day, sometimes it'll take a couple days for them to be sore. Also, it's likely you may not get a sore feeling, but a tight feeling instead. That's also a sign that you're doing it right. Nobody can tell you if you're lifting enough but you. The key to figuring that out is by starting out at a light weight and then gradually going higher.

    To get a good idea of what weight you need to actually stick with is pretty easy actually. If you do what I said above, you'll eventually get to a point where, say if you're doing 10 reps of arm curls, those last 5 or so arm curls really give your arm a burning sensation. Burning sensation is key here, you don't want pain. Don't stop when you feel the burn, really work it and do a few more reps; that's when it really counts.

    Like I said though, you don't want to feel pain. If you do, you're doing too much weight or you're doing the exercise wrong.

  • Webster666

    Posts: 9225

    Mar 01, 2009 7:49 AM GMT
    My experience from observing other guys in the gym is that not many guys are lifting enough weight. They don't push themselves. They're lifting exactly the same amount of weight they were lifting a year ago. The most important thing is learning good form, then, pushing yourself to lift more and more weight. If you can do 3 sets of 8 reps without straining very much, it's time to go up in weight. And, I think that it's important when you're doing your 3 sets, to lift a moderately heavy weight on the first set, a lot heavier weight on the second set, and as heavy as you can manage on the third set, while still getting 8 reps. That third set should be where you really give it all you've got to push yourself to new heights.
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9225

    Mar 01, 2009 7:57 AM GMT
    No. Your muscles should not be sore the next day, unless you have injured yourself, or if you've taken a week off from your workouts. If you learn correct form and practice it, and push yourself to lift heavy weights, what you're doing will be effective. The biggest impediments to making progress are poor form and light weights. The one exception is that you should be very cautious about using too much weight when you are working your shoulders. It's easy to injure your shoulders, and then you have to stop working out until the muscles heal. Start with light weights, using good form. And, only increase the weight in small increments. That's for shoulders only.
  • Hunkymonkey

    Posts: 215

    Mar 01, 2009 11:53 AM GMT
    A little bit of soreness for a day, two at the most, is okay. It means you have stressed the muscle, which is the point. You need to break the muscle down a little, so it will respond with growth. At least 15gr of L-glutamine post workout will help your recovery. If you are sore for longer than 48 hours, you are training too long and/or too heavily and your muscle regeneration will be hindered. I agree with the above that most people don't really lift enough. Each workout, try to add another rep or two or another couple of pounds at the same rep level as the previous workout. Over time, your size and strength will increase. You should keep a lifting journal. Some other thoughts: if you are a beginner, full body workouts 3 times a week with moderate weights are a good way to get started. If you are intermediate, consider 1 major & 1 minor body part per day, up to 4 days per week. Best if you go Mon Tues & Thurs Fri or just train one day on, one day off. Directly after your workout, make sure you get some simple carbs in your system (a high glucose drink, for example). Follow that with a protein drink with the glutamine and BCAA's about 10 to 15 minutes after. An hour later, have a good solid food meal.