“How Much Weight Should I Use?”

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Do any of you have a question or statement that, when blurted out, automatically sets off your inner Jaws theme music playlist?

For guys it could be something like, “hey, wanna go see the latest Julia Roberts movie?” or worse your girlfriend comes home and says, “I know what we could do tonight instead of watching Game of Thrones. Lets talk about our feelings!”

For the ladies some prime examples could be “babe, do you mind if the guys come over to play some cards?” or “was that good for you?”

There’s no right or wrong answer here.  We’re all human. It’s in our nature to get annoyed on occasion.

I hate to say it, but for me there’s one question that sometimes (not always) sets me over the ledge.

“Tony, how much weight should I use?”

I feel guilty because it’s a question, especially for those who aren’t seasoned veterans in the weight room, is applicable and is a reasonable one to ask. Moreover, as a strength coach it’s my job to guide people and point them in the right direction.

Sometimes I have to fight back the urge to say something along the lines of, “if you can do more reps than what’s called for, it’s too light.  If you can’t, take some weight off.”

But then I’d just be an a-hole.

On the flip side, I do feel that people – trainers and coaches included – tend to make things waaaaaaay more complicated than they have to be.  This isn’t a question that should involve some advance algorithm or a degree from NASA.

In my latest article for BodyBuilding.com I try my best to break things down and explain how I approach the “how much weight should I use” conundrum.

Click Me <—– But Gently, I Did Legs Yesterday.

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  • Chris Pendleton

    We’re in the same boat in regards to the age old question “how much weight do I use”
    What also gets me is when you’re performing an exercise and the first question asked is “That works your core right?”

    • TonyGentilcore

      Soooooooo true.

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  • Ed

    Nice work Tony. I tend to add reps until I reach a certain goal.
    To use DB Incline Bench as an example – rep goal is 4 x 10 – this is from my actual log.
    Week 1 – 20kg x 8, 8, 8, 8
    Week 2 – 20kg x 9, 9, 9, 9
    Week 3 – 20kg x 10, 10, 9, 9
    Week 4 x 10 x 4 sets
    Week 5 – add weight, rinse, repeat.
    Main rule of thumb is to keep form good and not grind.
    I take it that is basically how the “Rule of 2″ works?
    Thanks for reading!

    • Shane Mclean

      Like it Ed. Easy to follow.

      • Ed

        Hope it helps Shane :)

  • Jeff

    Hey Tony, how about this approach? ;)

    http://www.ericcressey.com/how-to-select-what-weight-to-use-in-a-resistance-training-program

    Seen Robins post the same link in his blog when presented with the same question…do you use that approach as well? If so, is it with more advanced clients (and people who can deadlift a metric shit-ton such as yourself, EC, and Robins)?

    Thank you!

    • TonyGentilcore

      There are a million ways to approach it, and the one Greg talks about works well too. At the end of the day it’s a matter of finding out which one works best for YOU.