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Weight training: Guide, tips and benchmarks

Weights used for strength training can take different forms depending on the type of work performed. How do you choose them, plan your training and reach your goals? Follow the guide and find some iFIT series to put these tips into practice!

Choosing your weights and getting started

strength training weight lifting tips guides and help

In strength training, lifting weights allows you to intensify your effort. Several types of weights exist:

  • Tonesoftbells: These adjustable weighted fitness accessories attach to your ankles or wrists and boost the movements you are already doing with bodyweight.
  • Dumbbells are small barbells used to work the upper body. The hexagonal model is particularly practical: it can double as a support point for certain exercises. It is easy to hold and does not roll. Your push-ups and walking lunges will never be the same with these accessories!
  • The kettlebell is one of the stars of HIIT and circuit training. This unique weight with a handle helps to improve strength, endurance and coordination through off-centre work.
  • The barbell with adjustable weights is a classic in the weight room for squats, pull-ups and bench presses.

Weights are available in different materials: plastic or rubber coating, cast iron, chrome finishes, etc. Each athlete has their own preferences, but all are designed to give you a pleasant experience and effective results.

To know which weight to lift, first refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for your training level. Buy several weights or adjustable weights as you will need to change weights frequently as you exercise and develop your physical abilities. Test the maximum weight you can lift in one movement regularly: this will serve as a baseline for adjusting your plates. The loads used are higher for lower body work (which contains the largest muscle groups) than for the upper body.

Benchmarks for weight training

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When working with weights, the main thing to understand is the relationship between the load and the number of reps. The more weight you lift, the fewer reps you will do, and the more strength-oriented your training will be. Lighter weights will allow you to do longer sets and focus on endurance.

From here, you can make the best decisions for building your strength training sessions:

  • To increase the size of your muscles, you need to engage the fast-twitch fibres, the ones that grow the fastest, with intense effort. Choose a weight that allows you to do 1 to 6 repetitions and rest for several minutes after each set.
  • To improve your muscle strength, choose lighter weights and do sets of 8 to 12 repetitions. This work involves the slow-twitch fibres, which are less likely to gain volume.
  • If you can do 15 to 20 movements without difficulty, you are working on endurance.

Vary your training approximately every 4 to 6 weeks to continue to progress and monitor your physical strength.

The degressive method combines strength and endurance work in one session. Start with a fairly heavy weight (that allows you to do 5 reps). Continue with a 30% lighter weight for another 5 reps, and finish the session with a 30% lighter weight until you feel true fatigue. Do the exercise twice for each muscle group.

Stiffness is part of the strength training process: if you’ve never had it, maybe it’s time to increase the load on your weights. Space out your sessions to allow time for your muscle fibres to strengthen. However, be careful not to develop joint pain, which could indicate that the load/rep adaptation is not optimal.

Taking your weight training to the next level

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To get the most out of your weight training, check out iFIT for these complete sets designed for different levels:

  • Strengthening fundamentals in 15 sessions with Gideon Akande
  • Quick workout: 12 sub-20 minute workouts with different iFIT coaches to vary your approach
  • Strengthening basics: train with Kelsey Sheahan for 4 weeks
  • Higher-level strength training: get coached by John Peel for 12 weeks

For the ultimate strength training experience, consider the Vault: you’ll be able to adapt your movements in real-time, taking cues from your coaches with your innovative connected mirror. A full accessory kit can be added, and you can store your dumbbells, weights and elastics directly behind your Vault when you’re done.

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