We see it all the time – people who have loaded up a bar or a machine with a ridiculous amount of weight. They proceed to do incredibly small movements, or do it wrong to compensate for the weight. Why?? What benefit are you getting out of this? Oh yeah, bragging rights.
It never fails, when we tell people that we’re bodybuilders, one of the first questions we get is “how much do you squat / bench / deadlift??” We usually respond with an explanation that we’re not power lifters, therefore the amount we lift doesn’t matter at all, and changes from day to day. This usually results in a blank stare back because we’ve failed to provide what they wanted. Yes, we do know the amount of weight we usually lift for each exercise, but it doesn’t define our workout by any means. We don’t get hung up on it, we just use it as a guideline for our next training session. Also, it’s irrelevant for someone else to know, they shouldn’t use it as a guideline for what they should lift. We also keep in mind that each day is different – your body will respond differently every workout depending on how tired you are, what you’ve eaten, and your mindset. Listen to your body and start with an easy – moderate weight each exercise to gauge your body that day.
I read a post on Instagram about a year ago by someone I look up to, which has stuck with me. It was a video clip of her training shoulders, burning them out with 10lb side lateral raises. The comment went into the fact that once you’re on stage, the only thing that matters is how you look – not what you lifted. The judges don’t ask you how much weight you use when you train, so you shouldn’t worry about the number. She had done a big drop set, and had perfect form the whole time – far more important in the long run.
Obviously, if you’re a power lifter the weight does matter, but for the majority of the people in the gym it doesn’t. You’ll get more results (and suffer fewer injuries) by using an appropriate amount of weight for your strength.
A clue your weight is too heavy – your spotter is working harder than you are!
So, check your ego at the door and train safe and smart. Establish your goals in the gym and know how to work towards them successfully. If you’re unsure of proper technique, ask someone knowledgeable or check out the videos on bodybuilding.com And remember – just because someone is lifting a lot of weight DOESN’T mean they know what they’re doing!!