Best weight amount to start a training program

What is the best weight amount to start on a new program with free weights? Should it be the maximum amount you can lift, or less? If less, by how much?


It did, thank you. You

It did, thank you. You recommend to start in the light range of weights (which is relative to what I can lift, for between 13 to 20 reps). Is it best to continue to increase weights to the medium and then heavy ranges in a training program, or to stay in the same range (say either medium or heavy), but increase the weights as one is able to lift more? If you get what I mean. Also, when/how is the 1 rep max used?

Initially you will stay in

Initially you will stay in the same range for 4-6 weeks, increasing weights accordingly. When you feel your body is responding less to the rep range you are using, then move to the lower rep, higher weight range and do the same again after another 4-6 weeks. Once you have moved through all 3 rep ranges, go back to the starting light weight, high rep range and you should notice you can lift significantly more than you did the first time.

The 1 rep max is a measure of the maximum amount of weight one can move in any exercise. It should only ever be attempted with trained supervision and someone who as experience in working towards this. The general format for working out a 1 rep max would be to warm up with a weight that makes you struggle for 8-10 reps for 4-6 sets, then a weight that will make you struggle for 5-6 reps for 2 sets, a weight that you can only lift for 3 reps and then attempt your 1 rep max. If this is succesful then try more weight, if a failure, reduce and try again. It can be very dangerous to try as it involves pushing the body to the brink of complete failue and so I must again stress how important it is to have the correct, professional supervison.

That explains things clearly,

That explains things clearly, thank you. I won't be starting any serious weight training programs without a qualified supervisor, of course, but it helps to know a bit about it all.

Starting a weight training

Starting a weight training programme with the heaviest weight you can lift would be like taking a learner driver on a motorway in their first lesson. A starting weight should be one that makes you struggle for 20 good repetitions of an exercise. I've written a blog on the subject in the past and this may answer your question in more detail.