Hey Everyone 👋🏻
If you have landed here it is probably because you ask yourself/your coach this question very often and just can’t seem to figure out how to answer it.. As a CrossFit Coach, I felt the need to write this post about what weight to choose during a workout (generally any kind of CrossFit or crosstraining or functional training workout will require you to perform some kind of weight bearing exercise).. I am asked this by more than one person in every class I coach – and I get it 👍🏻 – you don’t want to over exaggerate but at the same time you don’t want to finish the workout and regret not having taken more weight 🏋🏼- I completely understand and I have completely been in both those scenarios and have been equally frustrated by both of them 😨… So – the big question- how can you choose your own weights correctly? – this isn’t a foolproof method and you are definitely going to have days where this goes wrong but my 5 top tips are:
1 – Determine your mood – this is especially for those of you who, like me, though training is the most fun part of your life, it is not the only part of your life.. you need to check in with your mood – are you tired today? Have you ate well and drank enough water? How did you sleep yesterday? Did you have a stressful day at work? Basically if you are angry/stressed/happy you can handle more weight; if you are feeling sluggish or lethargic – listen to your body and don’t push too much today – you can leave it for next time! ✌🏻🙃
2 – Go with your instinct! No one knows you better than you do – yes sometimes you need that extra kick up the butt (cue good coach) but – in general you have a very good idea of what you can handle so you will instinctively be thinking of a number and as a rule of thumb you should stay within +/- 5kg of that.
3 – Invest in a good gym and a coach you trust (you don’t need a personal trainer for this – but you need a coach that you can trust and will take the time with you to help you determine the best weight for you) – if you do not trust your coach for whatever reason this is a problem which you should address – Is it because you lack confidence in yourself? – if this is the case you need to try push your boundaries; see if your coach is right! Or is it because your coach never takes notice of you (cue – time to look for a better coach)? Maybe there is a lack of communication? What is the reason for this? No need to overanalyse – but THIS is a key thing and – from a coach perspective – can be very hard to develop as it is very subjective but is crucial to progress 💪🏻💪🏻
4 – Always look at volume of reps and intensities and the particular movement in question – so if you do something like CrossFit there is always a so called ‘Rx’ or ‘as prescribed’ weight – this is a super indicator of what weight would work for you – before you kill me – No I am not suggesting you go with that weight but from that weight you can determine if this was meant to be easily cyclable or if you should be struggling with every rep.. What do I mean? so for example let’s take Power Cleans in the workout ‘Grace’ – generally for a mid-volume, intense workout such as this one is – the as prescribed weight is 43kg – which for the pros is pretty easy to move around so find the weight that for you would be as easy to move around – this is your ‘comfortable weight’; from then on if the prescribed weight on cleans is 30kg you know that this is a workout where the reps are high or the intensity is high as now you need to be able to cycle the bar faster and quicker – therefore you are going to take a lower weight than usual – but if it is 50kg then reps are low or intensity is low and you can handle a bit more than usual… As you get stronger this ‘comfortable’ weight will get higher and higher and closer and closer to that as prescribed weight but this can be a good starting point… so Recap look at number of reps, time caps & expected intesities or unbroken reps (your coach should be able to answer these questions pretty easily) and this should help you make that decision a bit more easily.
4A – My gracious WOD partner reminded me that another awesome thing to do that a lot of us do is to keep a LogBook type thing to log what weights you used on which date for what workout – this is a great way to track your progress 💪🏻💪🏻
5 – Finally, DO NOT OVERTHINK! – as a coach I see this on a regular basis where a member will stare at the weights and try to imagine and plan and hope for some divine inspiration in the meantime… Realistically this is one workout which is a maximum of one hour long – in the grand scheme of things it is only a small piece of the puzzle – warm up and practice the movement with increasing weights – when the weight feels right- GO WITH IT!! If you feel it was too easy (usually the case) you know this for next time – If it is too heavy you can always drop down the weight!
So these are my tips – but something I really wish to point out is – if your technique is not quite down yet you SHOULD NOT be lifting heavier weights even if you are strong enough to do so! First get the technique in he bag with that lower weight – once you have that technique you will surely be able to fly with the heavier weights – but lifting heavy with bad form is not only VERY DANGEROUS but it is also very hard to fix in the future… I hope this helps and if you have any questions or any additionaly advice feel free to comment below!