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A question I get asked often - is when is the right time to increase the weight for a given exercise? The answer, as with most things fitness, is "it depends". But I can give you two general scenarios that you can use as a guide.

When looking to push yourself on a given exercise or body part, the first question to ask yourself is the priority: injury prevention or progress maximization? This is a hard question to answer as both sound like great goals! However, the key to deciding which angle to take hinges on what is most important in the long term. I'll explain this more which might help in the thought process.

If your main goal is to avoid an injury, which can also be said, err on the side of caution, focus on the last set of your sets for a given exercise. What this will do is help you determine your strength when you are fully fatigued. The benefit here is that you will be moving the weight up in a way that you know you can handle. The drawback is the first set or two might be a bit less intense.

However if your primary focus is to maximize muscle stimulation, use the first set to determine when to progress. The benefit here is that you are at your freshest and you can determine your rate of progress at your peak strength/performance level. The drawback is that you could potentially progress faster than you might be able to handle and fatigue can set in quickly, which can make subsequent sets very challenging.

The good news on both of these approaches is that it's not an all or none. There might be certain exercises you want to be more cautious on but train the same bodypart more aggressively with a different movement you feel confident about. It's all very individual what rep number on both examples above you choose. Regardless of which scenario you follow, continue to raise that bar!!


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