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How heavy of weights should I lift?

I am going to begin a weight lifting routine next week. I am using the routine from The Biggest Loser book. It is a circuit where you do a few reps of strength exercises for each area of body with no breaks in between. It is supposed to help burn calories in addition to strengthening your muscles.

However, I do not own dumbbells and I need them. I am going to go buy some tomorrow but I don't know how heavy I should get. I don't want some that are so light that after the first couple of weeks it no longer achieves anything. I don't want ones that are so heavy that I can't do it and get burned out. I don't want to buy multiple sets - I would like to buy one set of dumbbells.

So what weight should I get? I was thinking 5 or 8 pounds. I am 5'7" and 165 pounds (getting lower everyday!). I am very weak as far as my muscles, and I am not athletic or fit whatsoever. I do not do any kind of regular exercise.


Tue. Jul 17, 5:32pm

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I reccomend the 5 pound. It is a bit heavier than the 3, but still light enough to do shoulder raises with. 8 or 10 may be a bit heavy if you are a beginner.

I personally work different muscles with different size weights.
I use 5 and 10.
And the biceps are the only muscle with which I can do the 10.

Don't overdo it when starting.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007, 6:50 PM

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Yeah I started off using 5 pounds a few years ago when I started lifting. I wasn't consistent it b/c I wasn't seeing instant results, so I gave up. Then last summer, I became more consistent and I can't believe I have muscles in my arms and back now. Recently, I bought 10 pound weights. It's pretty awesome to see how far I've come. On the other hand, consistent healthy eating in order to lose this excess weight is a problem for me (portion sizes). Anyway, perhaps 5 pounds will be best to start if you're a beginner. Good luck!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007, 9:16 PM

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It really depends on how strong you are and what type of exercises you will be doing w/ the weights. I know for me personally, 3 or 5 lbs weights wouldn't be enough to challenge me but they may be really difficult for someone w/o a lot of muscle tone. When you buy some make sure you "practice" the exercises you will be doing w/ the weight in the store. If you are doing sets of 10, you should be fatigued by rep 8, and struggle to complete 9 and 10. If you get to 10 and feel you could do more-then you aren't challenging yourself and your work won't get you anywhere. If you are tired by rep 4, then you are lifting too much weight! Play around w/ different weights to find out what works for you!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007, 11:57 PM

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I'd vote for 5, 8, and 10lbs if starting, 8, 10, and 15 otherwise. 5lbs is nothing for a bicep curl, but it can be rough for lat or forward raises.

The other thing to keep in mind is that you don't always need weights- exercises like pushups, dips, and chin ups all work your upper body as good or better than traditional strength training with weights.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007, 2:19 AM

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I recommend one of those pyramid sets of 3, 5 and 8 - usually if you buy them as a set, it works out significantly cheaper than buying them individually. 3 might sound a bit light, but it depends on what you're doing and how many times you are doing it. If you're going to do 25 reps of punching, for example, 3's are the way to go. But 10 reps of bent-over dumbell rows? You'll want 8-10's.

Point to note - I've got small hands, but I manage to position two dumbells in a way that allows me to lift them in one hand, so I can use a 3 and an 8 for an 11-pound weight.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007, 3:05 AM

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I am 5'3" and 120, not a bit of bulk, and I worked up to using of 8-20 pound weights for arms and legs.

I agree with the above - combine those 3, 5 and 8 pounders to make 11, 13 or 16 pounds as you need a challenge. Do not be afraid of heavier weights.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007, 8:37 AM

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