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Choosing Loads and Intensity

Conditioning Workouts

When it comes to selecting weights for conditioning workouts, it’s important to choose a weight that allows you to complete the first round at about an 8/10 effort level, while still maintaining good form. For subsequent rounds, it’s a good idea to strategically break up your reps in order to maintain good form and maximize the benefits of the workout. Before beginning the workout, it can be helpful to perform a few reps with the weight you plan to use in order to get a sense of what it will feel like and come up with a plan for how you will break up your sets.

It’s worth noting that the suggested weights provided in workouts can be subjective, as they will depend on each individual’s current fitness level and training experience. Rather than getting too hung up on the suggested weights, focus on moving with intention and maintaining good form. The most important goal is to enjoy the process and make the most of your workouts.

Accessory Work

When selecting weights for accessory work, there are a few factors to consider. These include your individual goals (such as muscle building or general fitness) and the equipment (weight selection) you have available. If a rep range is given, such as 8-12 reps per set, try to hit the top end of the range with good form and strict tempo (if specified), while also leaving around 3 reps in reserve (3 RIR – 3 repetitions away from failure) on your first set. If you succeed, you can increase the weight on the next set or the next time the movement appears. This same principle applies to your subsequent sets, but keep in mind that as your muscles become more fatigued with each set, your reps in reserve (RIR) will decrease. If your ultimate goal is muscle hypertrophy, it’s a good idea to try to push for failure on your last set (0 RIR). If you’re more experienced, you can take your last 2 sets on each exercise to failure.

If you find that your dumbbells are too light to reach the indicated rep range and RIR, tempo reps can be a solution to still achieve the desired stimulus. Simply adjust the tempo of the movement to make the reps more challenging. Remember, it’s always important to prioritize good form over heavy weights.

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