As a coach, this is a question I get all the time during strength sessions. So, what are some indicators that it might be time to add weight to your squat or deadlift (or progress really any exercise)?

First, if you’re asking this question after your set, it’s a good sign that it’s likely time to up the ante and put more weight on the bar.

But, here are a few things I look for when I’m coaching:

  • Speed of each repetition, especially the first/second rep compared to the last rep
  • Technique: was there any breakdown of technique in order to finish the set as you became fatigued
  • Level of physical effort (did my athlete ‘grind out’ any reps, or was it more like a walk in the park)

At the end of a set, I ask if the athlete could have done 2+ more reps (i.e. recommended rep was 8 but they could have gotten 10) → if so, then we need to add more weight to the exercise.

Adding weight in increments of 5-10lbs per week is a great way to progress your lifts over a linear periodization like the training system that we use here at Progressive Performance.

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