T Nation

Adding Weight 'Every' Workout


Am I the only one that doesn't like this comment?

For one, if you are putting on more weight EVERY workout, you'll be able to lift a dump truck in due time.

I agree that over time your strength should be going up, but how can you expect to increase EVERY workout?
Some of the big guys on here advocate it, and I try to adhere by it, but I sometimes find that I sacrifice quality over quantity here.


The body grows in spurts, not linearly. If you're adding more weight on literally every workout, you aren't pushing yourself hard enough.

Obviously you need to be adding more weight over time, but doing it every workout isn't realistic.


you add weight or reps

that doesnt mean the same reps with more weight each time


5 reps, 10 pounds
5 reps, 15 pounds
5 reps, 20 pounds

it means you have a rep zone, say 5-8. when you hit 8 you add weight, then you should go back down to 5 reps. the next time you lift that weight you should hit it for 6 reps, then 7, then 8, then add weight and repeat.


From time to time I make a point of it on this, but my doing so never gets anywhere, so usually I leave it alone so as not to be too repetitive.


I just work on form and inch my way up to the top of my rep range, add weight, then work back up again. I haven't experienced huge jumps like many others seem to, it's usually one more rep or the same reps with 5 lbs more. I'm wondering if I shouldn't be moving the scale a little faster and see greater strength gains, but I'm being a little careful as I am not exactly lean.


Adding a rep counts just as much...as does decreased rest time...but yeah, you're right...if I added even 1/2 a pound each workout I would've squatted 1000lbs back in about 1993.


i love how the people who disagree with it are not even big.


It depends on how advanced someone is. Noobs should be adding weight to the bar every single workout, no exceptions. Intermediates should strive to add more weight, but may end up just being able to get more reps with the same weight. Advanced guys should also strive to add more weight, but may end up getting an extra rep or two or possibly just working on better form and better contractions of the muscle.

The reason you hear "just add weight to the bar every workout" is because this advice is usually being given to noobs who should be doing just that.


If you aren't constantly striving to do another rep, add more weight or make your reps cleaner each and every workout, then in my opinion - you aren't training.

This key principle is overlooked by sooooo many people.

The guys who need to step back and just fucking look at their progression- are the ones who are usually doing super-sets, drop sets, giant sets, and worrying about their periodization and deloading...

I didn't get anywhere in terms of gaining noticable amounts of strength and muscle mass until I just purely focused on getting stronger.


Just to be clear im a beginner with 4 weeks of gym time under my belt, but WHY can't you ?

Over the whole course of a workout you can't add weight to one singular exercise ?

I have added what some think to be "BS" amount of weight to my lifts.... but i don't see why everyone can't do it if i can .... whats an extra 1.25kg to your body once a week on an exercise?

I mean clearly your body does not recognize your lifting 302lbs instead of 300lbs in the Bench Press, it just realizes your lifting something heavy and if you don't lift it it's going to sever your head, would it not be that you don't have the necessary muscle to lift it which would be more of a food problem than a weight problem ?

One guy i have found un-believable is "Matt Kroc" 300lb "Kroc Row" if he can do it why can't you or i ? Or take the Olympic lifters who Squat 2/3 times their body weight.... so why can't you or i do it ?

I go into every workout determined to put more weight on the bar, if someone told me at the start you won't be able to add weight every workout i probably wouldn't have pushed it so far... why set limits as the Nike add goes "Just do it"


Thats what i was told and i have been accelerating through the weights, for some to fast :stuck_out_tongue:

How do you determine each section of lifter though... is it the weight they use compared to the bodymass or what ??




I used to carry a log to the gym so that I could either beat my weight and/or reps on every exercise I performed. It got to a point where I was pissed off after every session because I was not increasing every single time.

I quit carrying the log and focused a little more on how it felt. I still add weight once I reach the top of whatever weight range I'm working in, but it is by no means evey time.


Your body only has the capacity to push X lbs at any given time. If you are busting your ass and pushing your body to the absolute limit, you are only going to push X lbs, and no amount of motivation will make any difference until your body physically grows beyond that.

It takes time for your body to increase from X to Y lbs. Sometimes that happens by the next workout, and sometimes it doesn't. As LankyMoFo pointed out, the more advanced you are, the longer it tends to take before you see a noticeable increase.


Man, I can't believe you just made that statemement."possibly just working on better form and better contractions of the muscle" I thought I was the only member that had that concept,I think that statement is the main factor(except genetics and special supps) in bodybuilding.



You should be adding weight and/or reps every workout. If you stall try eating more, if nothing gets you throgh the plateau swap the exercise out for a while and come back to it later and break that previous plateau.


Progressive overload over time is key. You can do this by doing more weight or adding reps. I think if you are on a split and train a group once per week, you should be able to add weight to the bar each session, but perhaps only on your primary movement. People who do, say, 3-4 movements for chest and 3+ sets per movement are going to have a hard time doing that.

The whole "one work set taken to failure (and beyond, perhaps)" thing has been harped on a lot here lately and there is a strong little contingent that preaches it, but I think that's only one way to do things and may leave a muscle underworked, at least where earlier sets are essentially only pogressively heavier warm-ups. Strength is important, but in terms of hypertrophy so is the work performed. So, a top set of military press of 225x9 may not be as effective for hypertrophy than 2-3 work sets of 210 for 8-10 reps each.

I have found that 2-3 "work sets" (not taken to failure but getting close) for 1-2 movements per group done 2x per week is a nice balance and creates on overall anabolic environment for your body to grow- for a natural trainee w/ normal genetics, this is a better approach than the "trash the muscle with tons of sets" and the "one work set taken to failure" extremes.

So, to answer your question, if your working with 210 on incline bench and getting 8-10 reps for 3 sets, up the weight for your next session and see what happens. If you are still getting the reps for your first 2 sets next time with the higher weight, up it again for the 3rd set to challenge yourself.

Others have said that increases happen linearly- I haven't found that weight increases linearly very often. More often than not, I will increase by 10 lbs, stay at that new weight for a bit, then increase another 5-10 lbs. Granted, there are 2.5-5 lb weekly increases from time to time but having an expectation of "adding weight to the bar every session" make for good forum posts but may not play out in reality. This is similar to the disastrous rhetorical question regarding mass building- "is the scale moving?". People then get it in their head that weight gain should happen constantly and perceptibly, when in reality 8-10 lbs of lean mass gain in a year is fantastic progress.

Adding weight to the bar and mass to the frame is glacial. It takes years and years. Otherwise we'd all weigh 300 lbs and deadlifting 900 lbs.


I agree with this too- CT (I think) refers to it as simply "contracting the muscle against resistance". So, while load is a great parameter and measure for tracking progress, for a bodybuilder it is really about contracting the muscle to illicit a growth response. Load is simply one way of measuring it or getting at that response, but just because failure is achieved in one work set doesn't mean that growth will occur (even if you do it with 5 more lbs on that movement than you did 7 days ago-- intuitively you can tell that the body just doesn't work like that).


So it has nothing to do with the weight per se, just adding more weight to yourself ie. (food)

And how do you know when you have reached that capacity i mean how many days of stalled weight before you decide you have reached your capacity to push more than "X" amount of lbs ?


You know because you push yourself to failure, or near failure, on every lift. As long as you are doing that, you will grow at the fastest rate.