When training, increasing your weight is an excellent strategy for building muscle mass and strength. Our muscle tends to become lazy once it reaches the point of handing a certain amount of weight. You will notice at that stage, your growth potential becomes stagnant, and to increase the muscles capacity, you will need to do a couple of things.
- Increase the amount of weight you are lifting
- Increase the number of repetitions
- Complete a try set or a circuit type session with consequences for overload
Your strategy will depend on your goals. Most of my clients want to build some muscle mass, but they also want to stay lean. The above three methods are used in conjunction to decrease the likelihood of that dreaded sticking point and increase the chances of gaining muscle mass whilst staying slim.
As you progress with a particular weight, if you can perform two or more repetitions more than what you were previously capable of, I would recommend increasing weights.
I have one strategy I regularly use to help me push that heavier weight even faster. Here is what I do
- Keep a set of weights near you that are the same as you lift.
- Keep a set of weights near you that are heavier.
When I do my first round or reps, I make sure that I lift the heavier weights until I cannot do one more rep with proper form. I drop the heavier weights, then pick up the lighter ones, and continue until I reach my desired repetition range. For my training, I tend to stick with 10–12 reps at a time. When I use lighter weights, I will try to get up to 15–20 reps.
This strategy alone has helped me to increase my weight range without too much effort steadily. The more variety you can give your muscles, the better equipped they become at exceeding your expectations of weight you lift.
When increasing your weight for the upper body, a significant load is about 5% of your maximum achieved.
Lower body weight will be a little more, say about 10%. Legs can usually handle a lot more loading up than the upper body.