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  • Shannon Cobb

3 Expert Tips to Choosing Weights for an Online Strength Training Class

Updated: Nov 25, 2020

Strength exercise seniors

More people are going online to exercise, and that means that they may be “flying blind” when it comes to choosing the correct weight to use for strength training. I am going share 3 of my best tips to get started strength training.

  1. So one rule of thumb that I always tell people is if you're wanting to test your strength anywhere that you are at home, in a gym, you're gonna start with doing 12 repetitions of one exercise. You will use whatever weight you have. If you have more than one option, make your best guess and then follow these instructions. We are going to use the example of a bicep curl (bend up your elbow). You will take your chosen weight and do 12 repetitions. By the 10th or 11th repetition you should be feeling a little muscle fatigue. And what I mean by muscle fatigue is that you should be feeling your muscle maybe throbbing a little bit or, maybe it is shaking just a little bit. That is going to be your muscle fatigue. So if you do feel that by the 10th or 11th repetition, then you have chosen the correct weight. If you are sitting there and you can do 12 repetitions and you don't feel anything in your muscle, you are not using enough weight, you need to up your weight. If you are not able to get to that 10th or 11th repetitions, you will need to go down in weight.

  2. My next tip is how to increase or decrease the weight. I suggest you start off by increasing it just 1 pound first. Use the same instructions as above, and keep increasing until you are challenged at repetition 10 or 11. Be aware, if you are doing an exercise and you're having to rock your body when you do it, then you are not isolating the muscles you are trying to work and that means you are using too much weight.

  3. My last tip is to be honest with yourself about where you are physically. If you are quite deconditioned, you may want to start with just 1 pound or 2 pounds when you're doing these exercises. But remember, if you want to build strength, you want to feel that challenge I have been talking about. So again, get your weights out, do 12 repetitions of maybe a bicep curl. If you're not feeling any fatigue by the last two repetitions, then you don't have a high enough weight. If you are having to rock your body back and forth then you have too much weight.

Now these are general guidelines to follow. You may have some specific issues that you have questions about. If that is the case, just send along and email to and I will get in touch with you to set up a time for some one on one attention. We can do that in person or online.

Looking forward to helping you get strong and confident.

Emily Ewing- Certified Exercise Physiologist, Neuro Personal Trainer

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