What Size Weights Should I Use?

Not sure what weights to reach for in Dumbbell Burnout or Slim and Strong: Weights Challenge? Jessica Bailey, certified personal trainer and blogger at SassyGirlFitness, fills us in on how to select the right weight for your strength.

Start Without Weight

It may seem ineffective, but Jessica says that it’s actually important to do the move without any weight to start.  She says that this ensures that you can maintain the proper form, and helps make sure that you don’t get injured.

Go Low and Increase Slowly

Jessica suggests starting at 5 lbs, then progressing to 8 lbs, 10 lbs and so forth.  She says to pay attention to each set, and monitor if you’re able to maintain proper form and complete the movement without slowing down. The weight you used right before your form started to break down is the one you should stick with for future workouts.

Increase Weight as Often as Possible

While it is important to increase the weight you use often as possible, Jessica warns to do this only “within the realm of safety and sanity”. If you increase the weight used too quickly, your form will suffer and you will no longer be using the target muscle properly, plus you’re more prone to injury.

Different Weights for Different Muscles

Certain muscle groups are stronger than others, so you may find yourself reaching for heavier weights for one exercise but needing lighter weights for others.  Jessica says the largest muscle group in the body is the glutes while the thighs are the biggest calorie burning muscles in the body, so this area can handle some weight.


What About Kettlebells?

When working with kettlebells, Jessica recommends grabbing a few different sizes for your workout. She suggests using a heavier weight for moves below the hip, a moderate sized weight for moves to the shoulders and a lighter weight for any overhead moves.  When you’re at the right weight, kettlebell moves should be challenging after just a few reps.

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