Many people resistance train, but stick to lighter weights because they are afraid they are going to get hurt.
While this is totally reasonable and understandable, the opportunity cost of not lifting heavy enough is huge.
Our bodies are extremely adaptable, and when there’s a new stimulus placed on them (think a new exercise or a heavier weight than previously used), adaptations (neurological and morphological; muscles and muscle fibers, or changes occur, and that’s how we get stronger.
If the stress placed on the neurological system and musculoskeletal system isn’t great enough to drive adaptations, or change, then, you probably guessed it; no changes occur, and you don’t gain the strength you’re looking to gain.
This is especially important when trying to get out of pain.
Oftentimes people will do the same exercises over and over (think 3 x 15 of x, 3 times a day), many times just body weight or with bands or light weights, but eventually that resistance isn’t enough to drive change, which is imperative for getting out of pain.
Now, we aren’t telling you to go lift more than you’re capable of. There’s also a risk/reward to going heavy.
So what should you do?
Generally, progressive overload is the way to go (either increasing reps or weight over time).
An example of progressive overload might be:
Week 1: 3 sets of 6 repetitions at x weight
Week 2: 3 sets of 8 repetitions at x weight
Week 3: 3 sets of 10 repetitions at x weight
Week 4: 3 sets of 6 repetitions at y (increase weight) weight
Week 5: 3 sets of 8 repetitions at y weight
Week 6: 3 sets of 10 repetitions at y weight
If you've been resistance training for a while and you're not seeing the progress you'd hoped for, and not sure what to do, please reach out! We'd love to help!