Making sure that you have the most effective and efficient workouts goes a long way towards building the body that you want. Having an efficient workout means taking short breaks, using the correct form, doing the right exercises, and doing those exercises with the right amount of weight. This last element of an efficient workout is the one thing I believe many people are missing in the equation.
To build the muscle you want, you need to lift the correct amount of weight. We all know that lifting heavier weights at lower reps will make you bulkier, while lifting lighter weights for more reps will give you more definition. What you may not realize is how important it is to find the exact weight that is right for you and for each specific exercise, and then to track your progress while incrementally adding weight to it each week.
To find the right weight for you, you need to make sure that, first of all, you’re using perfect form. If you’re doing cheat reps, then the weight is probably too heavy. Cheat reps are acceptable for powerlifting, but as far as strict bodybuilding and aesthetics goes, strict form will give you the best-looking body. If you can go well beyond your target number of repetitions or your muscle does not feel tired when you complete your set, the weight is too light.
Strict form means slow, controlled reps where the weight is stable on each side (if using dumbbells), moving at the same speed on the way up as the way down. Start with this form. If you’re looking to build mass, find a weight where you can do, at most, 6 reps. If you’re looking to gain definition more than mass, find a weight where you can do 15 reps using strict form. You should be struggling with your last repetition, but do not break form.
Some people do recommend breaking form on your last several repetitions because it can force your body to grow. I believe that maintaining your form will allow your body to work in the most efficient way possible. When you break form, you recruit other muscle groups to help you complete repetition.
This drains your body’s total energy levels which will leave all of your muscle groups more fatigued. When your body is tired you cannot isolate any one muscle group and work it to its maximum potential. I used to cheat at the end of my sets, buy now realize that it is an inefficient bodybuilding technique. Focusing on only one muscle group at a time and working it until failure is the most efficient way to spend your energy.
At this point, there are several things you can do. You can either pyramid up by adding weight after each set while decreasing repetitions, or you can decrease the weight and try to maintain the amount of repetitions at 6 or 15. Keep in mind that 6 and 15 are my personal recommendations.
Anywhere from 2-10 reps can be used to build mass and anywhere from 10-20 reps can be used to gain definition. The most important point I’m trying to get across is that you should find a weight where you can work your muscles to failure while retaining strict form and staying within the repetition guidelines.
When you find the right weight for you, you’ll know it because you will build muscle quickly and efficiently. Using weight that is too light or too heavy for you is an inefficient way to build your body. Remember, strict form is the most important thing when it comes to bodybuilding. By using strict form you can find your ideal lifting-weight. After finding your ideal weight for each exercise you should remember to track your progress by slowly adding more weight to it. I believe tracking your progress is the only way you can make steady gains.
Remember, you should be focusing on making each repetition as difficult as possible, rather than focusing on moving the weight from point A to point B. The amount of weight you can lift is not relevant when it comes to bodybuilding. The only thing that matters is how you look. Great form will make you look great and get noticed, I promise.