My friend and I joined a gym a few months ago. I have worked out last couple years, but not as serious as I am now because I did not have a whole lot of equipment working out at home etc...
How often should I (or in general) add 5 lbs to my bench? I kept messing around increasing and decreasing weight, but never really consistently stuck with the same weight to do more reps.
I currently Bench Press 165 6-12 reps (personal best 185 lb 8 reps). My main goal for 2012 is to bench press 225 for some reps. How often should I add weight to the bar?
I was thinking about just moving up 5 lbs every 3-4 weeks because every week or two does not seem like enough. I just feel like doing the same weight for a few weeks will not make me stronger or gain muscle. But it seems like even if I am doing a weight that seems light, the minute I add 5-10 lbs -- I lose reps.
You'll want to do a few weeks at twelve then a few weeks at ten, a few weeks at eight and so on till you get down to 2. Then start over at 12. At first your sets of twelve should be fairly easy. But you should really begin to challenge yourself at the sets of ten and so on. Do the most weight you can, while still being able to complete the sets, and hold good form. Don't forget the complimentary back work outs.
Add 5lbs. to your max weight every chest workout. Don't get frustrated if your reps come down some on the max just do what you can. As you progress the weight will becomes so easy. Scot Mendelson the worlds strongest bench pressure is an old acquaintance of mine. He suggest that keeping both shoulder blades on the bench helps him better leverage in getting the weight up. Go up 5lbs in every weight training exercise. Always maintain good form. Hope this helps.
If you are beginner-intermediate (which it sounds like) - you should be aiming to increase either weight or repetitions at the same weight every new session.
Progressive overload is the key increasing strength.
I say add weight when you can consistently do your max of 12 reps at 165. You are going to lose reps at first but once you have gotten your new weight to a consistent 12 reps then add more weight. The most important thing is that you don't add too much weight too soon or you can end up slowing down your progression. Good luck!
If you're going to lift, then you want to do it right. Get Mark Rippetoe's Book "Starting Strength" and read it before you develop bad technique which will put a damper on your progress and be be hard as hell to train out. This book is pretty much the Bible for barbell training.
He has a section at the end of the book on progression and he also has a separate book that is dedicated to that issue.
You can listen to him read the first chapter in person on youtube. Just run a search there for "Rippetoe reading Starting Strength" and you'll find it. The guy is an amazing, on-point writer.
The most successful method of progression in weight training I am aware of is “listening to your body” and clearly outlining your goals. With most weight training there are two specific goals for growth, one for strength, the other for size. There are of course variations to these in differing combinations but the main goals are the same.
The simple rule of thumb to reach these goals is more reps with lighter weight to gain strength and heavier weight fewer reps to gain size. The balance comes in what your body is telling you about the fatigue level for a particular muscle group.
When it comes to adding weight for either scenario, you do not add weight until you muscles are no longer fatigued at the completion of the full exercise set. The most successful exercise sets I know of are ladder sets. The routine uses three different weights and a matched number of reps and sets.
For example, with free curls I use dumbbells of 20, 30 & 45 lbs each. I do a progression of 10 to 15 reps (each arm) starting with the lightest weight, then moving up through to the heaviest, then work my way back down. You end up doing 6 full sets and you do not move up weight or reps per set up until you can do 6 sets without fatigue. Once to this level the changes you make in increasing reps per set or weight depends on your goals, size or strength.
Note: the key phrase is “muscle fatigue” not burn out or pain. But before you can move up you have to establish your current strength level, the ladder method is a good way to determine where that is.
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