Get to 12, drop down to 8, and build up!

This is a handy ” how to increase the weight you should use” tip.

It’s the biggest draw back of exercise regimes that they forget to increase the stress of the exercise. Once you are used to it, the exercise is no longer an exercise, its just an activity.

The body needs to be challenged so you often need to vary exercise type, angles, type of kit used, but also, often, the weight used.

One of the easiest ways to increase the effectiveness is to increase the weight used. That’s ok, but when do you “up the weight”?

If I’m building some muscle mass  for my clients, I suggest this:

Find the weight you can do 12 reps with. Once you hit 12 reps, up the weight. Aim to find a weight you can get to 8 reps with. Over the next few sessions, build up to 12 reps again (using the same weight) then,  once you hit 12 reps,   up the weight. Expect to get to 8 reps again., build to 12 reps, and so on.

To be clear I have clients starting out with a bicep curl: we find what they can do 12 with say 6kg. So we now increase to 7kg, If they can do 12 reps, we up it again, but maybe, for example, going to 8kg becomes hard. Maybe they can only do 8kg for 8 reps. Great. The task is now to increase the reps from 8 to 12. Once they hit 12 reps, up the weight again?

Hope that helps

My name is Andrew Stemler and Im a City and East London Personal trainer. Email me at

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