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4 Signs You Should Be Adding More Weight When You Lift

Here's the truth about resistance training: the only way to get more results is to keep adding more weight.

Your body is designed to adapt to the demands placed on it. If you stop demanding more, it won't keep adapting — in this case, building more muscle tissue. But how can you know when it's time to add more weight? The idea to avoid injuries, and overloading your muscles is one of the quickest ways to injure yourself.

So how can you be certain it's safe to increase the load when resistance training? Here are the four main signs.

Enough Time Has Passed

The first sign that it's time to increase your weight is when you hit the four to 8-week mark of training with the same weight. Your body needs a few weeks to adapt to a higher weight, but usually, it has adapted by the 6-week mark. You can usually start adding a little more weight by the time you hit four weeks of training with the same weight for the same exercise. Maybe you only add an extra 5 pounds on the first set but do add at least a little. By the time you hit 6 to 8 weeks of training, you should be ready to add more weight to every set.

It's Not Hard Enough

You should be straining to complete each set, and the final set of each exercise should leave your muscles exhausted. Your body only responds to "overworked" muscles, meaning muscles that work to their very limits (and beyond, when you need someone to spot you). The harder you push yourself, the more your muscles grow.

If the set isn't hard enough — meaning you can complete it without much difficulty — it's time to add more weight. Make those sets killer to see results!

Your Muscles Don't Fatigue

Muscle fatigue is a sure-fire sign you're doing the right exercises using the right amount of weight. "Fatigue" is the point you hit when you just can't: your muscles can't push any harder or do another set, even with a spotter. Your goal should be to hit fatigue on the last set of every exercise you do.

If you're not hitting that fatigue point, you need to add more weight. Work with a spotter, and make sure to push yourself to reach fatigue. Every repetition you do after hitting muscular fatigue will deliver the muscle-building results you want.

You're Not Making Progress

If you're stuck lifting the same weight you've been lifting for weeks or months, it means you've stopped pushing yourself and your muscles have stopped adapting. Even if you don't feel able to handle more weight, add more anyway! You'll find that your muscles adapt to lift the greater load, and you end up being able to lift it with less difficulty than you expected.

You don't have to rack up another 20 to 30 pounds to the barbell. Just add 5 to 10 pounds and see how much of a difference it makes!

If you notice any of these four signs, it's an indicator that you need to start adding more weight to your lifts. Only by loading up on weight will you get the results you want: bigger, stronger muscles!

[Image via Shutterstock]

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