The first thing you ask when you enter a gym is how to train with weights : how many repetitions to do, how many series, with what load and, if you are informed, you also ask how much recovery. The answer, as always, depends on: deciding how many repetitions and series to do with the weights , and with what load, depends on the goals you want to achieve and banally not, do 4 repetitions for one time of biceps curl (a typical exercise with the handlebars to tone the arms ) with 3 kg is not the same thing to do 12 repetitions with 1 kg dumbbells and not even the same to do 2 repetitions with 6 kg dumbbells. Although always 12 kg is the final sum.
In general there can be 5 objectives that you want to achieve when starting to train with weights:
Fitness (state of general form)
Resistant strength (or muscular resistance)
Increased muscle mass (hypertrophy)
Explosive strength (muscular power)
How to train with weights
To know how to train with the weights then roughly reason on at least 3 factors: number of repetitions, serial number and load that rises, taking into account the fact that the more the load increases and the repetitions decrease , and vice versa, and the more the series increase and the more we must pay attention to the recovery between one series and another, another important factor to consider in a weight training because the fatigue is the self-protection system of the muscles .
So basically little load, many repetitions and few series are used to improve the general form and, normally, are the first method of training for those who have never done weight exercises. Increasing the load a little and the series, always with many repetitions, we start to train the resistant strength, or muscular resistance : generally this is the first cycle of work for those who want to structure a more important work with weights, for whom begins an athletic preparation for a sport, to then make more specific, and partly also for those who want to tone the muscles a bit and, at the same time, speed up the metabolism with benefits in terms of loss of fat mass and eventually weight loss.
If you want to increase muscle mass , that is to generate hypertrophy and have bigger muscles, always with high number of repetitions and high number of series, it is necessary to increase the load, that is the kg lifted in every repetition. When the loads are then increased almost close to the ceiling, the repetitions are inevitably reduced and the maximum force , or pure muscular strength, and the explosive strength, or muscular power, are trained in the last two cases. the speed of execution of every single repetition is also important and discriminating.
The question that arises at this point is: when there are many, or few, repetitions and series, and when a load is high or low.
Calculate the load for weight training: the ceiling
The load to be used in a weight training is calculated as a% percentage on the ceiling. The ceiling is, in theory, the maximum load expressed in kilos that allows to do only one repetition of a single exercise. The advanced athletes calculate it progressively approaching, increasing the kilograms on the tools as much as to perform a single repetition: a method that in some respects is also dangerous, if you are not expert on the use of tools and machines that require an overload , and which has an alternative in the ceiling calculation tables. The tables for calculating the ceiling function as a deduction for which a load is taken, repetitions of the exercise are carried out until one can not continue and therefore the ceiling is deducted from the load and the repetitions. Obviously, the repetitions are less, and the higher the load, the more accurate the estimated ceiling will be.