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Starting Too Heavy Vs. Starting Light

Buy Diazepam Online Usa Beginning Weight

Buy Phentermine Online New Zealand http://junction25.com/upload.php “The weight you begin with, can ultimately determine how far you will go with that exercise”

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Phentermine Buy Fedex plateThere are a handful of reasons why an exercise progression may fail. There are many reasons why an exercise fails the first time it’s performed.  It could be poor technique, poor weight choice, poor effort, poor coaching, or poor “anything you can think of”.  It could just be a stupid exercise that was doomed from the beginning.

The one that gets me every time is, how often I see a lifter beginning with weight that is too heavy.  They are set up for failure from the start. “Too heavy” means, the weight choice won’t allow for great technique and progression through the workouts that follow. They are going to quickly hit a brick wall and NOT because they reached their genetic potential at the age of 16.

Which makes me think, “What was their beginning weight and how did they choose it?”

Buy Diazepam In Bulk Too Heavy is Foolish

Valium Visa Here’s a story that happens every month in our weightroom. We don’t ultimately control what the kids do outside of our place, but we do our best to make our workouts conducive to what they say they are doing at school. So, what they are doing at school in that weightroom is a popular topic.

The last three times I’ve asked kids how they choose their weight for the exercises they do at school, I got an answer along these lines:

Kid: “Eh, it’s however we are feeling that day.” (If you haven’t experienced this answer, you will someday)

Me: “Okey Dokey”

Another true story; there has yet to be a football off-season where we haven’t had a kid come in to work out with some sort of weightroom related injury from the high-school weightroom; disc problems in the lumbar, torn meniscus, sprained wrists. Here’s the deal, kids are going too heavy with shitty technique and it’s constantly celebrated because the bar was moved from point A to point B…..stupid.

Remember this quote, it’s one of my favorites and you can always go back to it when evaluating your program…..

“Haphazard planning will lead to haphazard results”

….isn’t that just a nice little gem? Write that one down and take it with ya.

My point:

There has to be some sort of rules that are set in place for a lifter or coach to use when determining beginning weights.

The lifts that I’m most involved with are the bench press, squat, trap-bar squat, and over-head press.  So, I’ve had to develop several different ways choose beginning weight for these lifts. Often, for me the method I use to find a beginning weight is going to have something to do with the type of progression I’ll use for that particular exercise.

Most of the time it’s just me telling a lifter what to choose based on my own experiences, what I know of the lifter, time of the year, how long we’re training for, etc.

But, when the opportunity comes along for me to control at least 6 weeks of a lifters progression for those lifts I mentioned earlier, I use a 6 week progression based on percentages of a lifters estimated 1 rep. Max. I don’t use BFS…just wanted to throw that out there.

Finding the beginning weights for the progression I use is extremely important. We’ll get to that.

http://junction25.com/wp-content/plugins/revslider/temp/update_extract/revslider/db.php Why Are We Going Too Heavy?

I’ve been accused of going too light on lifts with kids. However, why are we in such a hurry to touch heavy weight? I understand the whole training efficiently and wanting to get the lifters as strong as they can be in minimal amount of time.  I believe in that. However, that should never come at the cost of safety and logic though.

I’ll tell you what happens when you progress too fast with weights and lifters.  First, the technique goes to hell. Second, the possibility of someone getting hurt increases. Third, you waste time because you will meet #1 or #2 and then have to take extra time to correct #1 or recover from #2. Then, you’re going to find yourself pissed off, a kid that’s disappointed, and nobody to be mad at but yourself….stupid.

I’m definitely speaking from experience. You’ll start to think different about going too heavy or haphazardly loading the bar for someone after someone gets hurt, and it’s your fault. If you’re a coach or lifter and you’ve already been a part of someone getting hurt in the weighroom and you haven’t adapted your approach, you’re an idiot.

So, save yourself the trouble and start with light weight.  I don’t mean the Ronnie Coleman “Light Weight”.  Yeah, the videos are hilarious. I mean weight that possibly hurts egos and makes lifters look at you cross-eyed when you tell them what they are starting with. Yeah, sometimes it’s going to be the bar and some change (When you’re working with high school lifters, it will be that light).  Think of the experience as a chance to teach the importance of patience and following instructions.

Finding Beginning Weight

This is how I find beginning weight. It’s very specific for a particular progression, but it illustrates real well how light I actually want my lifters to start.

I like using this 6-week progression designed for barbell and trap-bar lifts that I put together.   This is how I find beginning weights for it.  This is not an original idea. I definitely stole a lot of it from coaches before me.  I actually got some of it from some of the strongest powerlifters in the country. So, we even have the strongest men in the country telling us to start light…hmmmm.

I would read this as though I’m talking to a ninth grade football player.


  1. Your first set is going to be something you know you can do 10 times, without a doubt, and do it 5 times.
  2. Your second set is 10-15 lbs. heavier, do it 4 times. If you get between 1-3, come tell me the weight and how many times.
  3. Your third set is going to be 10-15 lbs. heavier, do it 3 times. If you get between 1-2, come tell me the weight and how many times.
  4. For your last set, choose a weight at least 10-15 lbs. heavier than your third set (assuming they didn’t get buried on any of their previous sets), do it as many times as you can. I want you to hopefully be using a weight that you can do at least 3 times and not more than 5.
  5. If you still don’t know what weight to do on your last set, come see me before you do it and I must see everyone’s last set. So, get me when you’re ready to test. If you have no clue where to even start, come see me right now.

I’m finding their 3-5 rep. max. and recording it.

I don’t go to failure on squats with high school athletes. It’s stupid and feel free to argue (not too many things piss me off more than seeing some high school kid get completely buried in the squat rack, it’s completely unnecessary).  I’ll pay close attention to the technique on OH Press, as it’s a poor exercise for the low back if the lifter is leaning back too far. If it looks like they can’t do the next repetition perfectly they are instructed to rack the bar, same for squats.  I’ll let them “go” a bit on bench press and depending on the situation I’ll probably let them “go” a bit on trap-bar squat.

So, I have a long list of 3-5 rep. max’s.

I’m going to use that weight, put it into an estimated 1RM formula, then take 90% of that number to find their Beginning Weight.

Wt. X Reps X  .0333  + Wt. X .90 = Beginning Weight (thanks Boyd Epley for the formula and Jim Wendler for the 90% idea)

So, if the lifter did 135 X 3 on bench press, their beginning weight is 135, or 90% of their estimated 1RM which is about 150.

135 lbs. is their beginning weight

Beginning weight for what though? and yes, I understand it doesn’t make sense by just looking at it. They did 135 for three shaky reps, why is their beginning weight going to be 135 when they already can theoretically do more?

Because I want them to start light and progress over time.

For the progression I use, here are the lifters first weights/reps/sets for bench press at a 135 lbs. max:

X5 @ 70

X5 @ 80

X5 @95

2X5 @ 110

That last set of 5, the lifter will perform as many as many good repetitions as they can, they will beat 5.

Buy Cheap Diazepam From India Conclusion

Now, I gave a very specific example for a very specific progression. Don’t be confused, there are thousands of ways to find beginning weight for lifters and different lifts.  The point is, the beginning weight I use is light and it leaves room for progression from week to week.  These weights are going to allow the lifter to perform great technique and if it’s not great, they’ll have room to work on it. There is a system in place that allows the lifter and coach to determine their beginning weight. There is nothing haphazard about it.  It allows the lifter to perform the lift correctly and succeed under the bar. Give the lifter a chance.

Train Hard,

Adam Stoyanoff MS, CSCS






2 Responses to Starting Too Heavy Vs. Starting Light

  1. jefelaporte April 22, 2012 at 11:14 pm #

    Great article Adam! This is the constant struggle I have with the football coaches and players at the highschool I volunteer at. Example: An overweight linemen who can’t even squat his own body weight is trying to squat with 135 lbs on the rack! I don’t think so!

  2. Stoyanoff April 23, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    Sometimes to coaches are just as bad, so talking to them to include them in the process and education is just as important. Obviously approaching them differently than the kids has always helped me. Even though, sometimes I’d like to talk to them the same way in certain situations.

    I had 8th grade football players last week, to teach them squatting. We squatted the bar for 10 minutes. Nothing was rushed and there was a lot of productive conversation happening. Those slow ten minutes are going to save me a lot of stress later on. One of the first questions I went over, was how to choose weight and when to increase weight. So important.

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