Adding Weight

This article is authored by Doug Scott. Opinions expressed may not be that of SMARTER Team Training, STT sponsors or constituents. Coach Scott has been a member of the Pingry faculty since 1999 and has served as a Physical Education teacher and Strength and Conditioning coach since that time. Doug designs workouts for both male and female student athletes competing on a variety of Varsity and Junior Varsity athletic teams, including many county, state, and conference championship teams. Listen to Doug’s podcast on iTunes by clicking here.

Have something to share? YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! CLICK HERE.

Having been involved in weight training for close to 20 years I’ve noticed two approaches to adding weight to an exercise. The first approach is to add as much weight as possible and try to lift the weight by twisting, contorting or bouncing to complete the lift. Once the desired number of repetitions are performed, regardless of form, the weight is jacked up 10-15 pounds to start the process all over. These individuals are so concerned about getting stronger that they are forcing the issue and paying no attention to form or technique. The second approach is to never add weight to the exercise and do the same weights and repetitions over and over again. Although their form is perfect they are rarely challenging themselves. This approach stems from the fear of becoming “muscle bound” or looking too “bulky”.

While both examples show a person dedicated to their fitness routine, neither approach will elicit the desired results. In the first example, if you add too much weight and use poor form you are setting yourself up for an injury and you can’t get stronger if you’re hurt. In the second example, although using perfect form is vital, so is challenging the muscles. If you never add weight or make the exercise harder the muscle will not develop. Getting stronger should be the priority of every fitness program. With that said, here are the guidelines for adding weight
to any exercise:

1. Use as much weight as possible for the desired amount of repetitions.
2. Use perfect or near perfect technique.
3. Add weight when you reach your goal number of repetitions.
Nothing fancy, just focused effort on the basics!

Doug Scott believes that strength training is a “means to and end” and should be a part of every athlete’s lifestyle; and it’s the coaches job to facilitate learning and put the athlete in the best position to get the most out of themselves and ultimately succeed. Mr. Scott has also worked as a personal trainer and has written a number of fitness-related articles and chapters. Coach Scott is a member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and hold the title of Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. You can contact him at