The answer to this question depends on two things:
For beginners and to build stability and endurance in your muscles often body weight is enough. To add difficulty to your exercises, challenge your balance (eq. stand on one foot). For moves that require added resistance choose a weight that will allow you to perform 12-20 reps before failure. If you can easily do 20 reps with what you are using now, consider increasing. Additionally, in this phases of training you should be performing your reps SLOWLY. 1 count against the direction of resistance, hold for 2 counts, then 4 counts in the direction of resistance. For example, in a bicep curl exercise, you would curl up for 1 count, hold for 2 counts, and slowly lower for 4 counts (not allowing gravity to do any of the work).
To build strength and add lean muscle choose a weight that will allow you to perform 8-12 reps before failure. If adding lean muscle is your goal and you can easily do 12 reps with what you are using now, consider increasing your weight. This phase of training can be done a little faster. Ideally each move would be complete using a 2-0-2 count:
2 count against the direction of resistance, no hold, 2 count in the direction of resistance. For example, in the same bicep curl exercise, you would curl up for 2 count and lower for 2 counts (still not allowing gravity to do any of the work).
Remember adding lean muscle help burn more calories throughout the day!
Check your progress regularly and increase your weight to meet YOUR goals.
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