How Does the Weight Feel as You Get Stronger?

So as a pretty rank beginner I’ve got a question I’ve been pondering for a while. As you get stronger, do weights that felt heavy feel light, or do you feel that you can put more effort into a lift?

Ie Does squatting 315 this year feel like squatting 225 last year (assuming last year’s max was 225), or do you feel like you just got more confident/powerful to be able to squat 315?

The pressure you feel from any given weight feels more-or-less the same as the first time you pick it up, it just moves easier and you get accustomed to what the heavier weight feels like on your back or in your hands.


Thanks, this was pretty much exactly what I was asking about. That’s kinda cool that the body works like that

(caveat: I’m not a “strong” guy, so…)

This is why, in general, strength as measured by 1 RMs have a significant neurological component. This is also why so many veterans of the iron tell people that, sooner or later, you need bigger muscles to move more weight. Hence, the “hypertrophy” phase of (good) powerlifting programs.

Why exactly is this related to needing size? I understand more muscle moves more weight (all else being constant), but how is the “weight” of a loaded bar staying fixed a cause for hypertrophy?

The body adapts, which is what makes lifting worthwhile in the first place. You also get used to bar pressure, so even though 315 still feels like 315 when you put it on your back as a 500 squatter, it is a level of pressure that is well within your comfort zone at that point. Three plates might have been soul-crushing pressure the first time you un-racked it, but it is still 315 pounds driving down through your body no matter how strong you are.

Because physics doesn’t give a sh*t about you

If nothing else, growing your traps will make the bar pressure easier to cope with!

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The Yoke, 'bro, The Yoke!

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In a way it just feels lighter & yet in others it feels much more substantial (this is especially true with big compound movements were you really start to find stabilising muscles firing in much more obvious, pronounced way) + when shit goes pear-shaped with a 400lb whatever vs a 150lb lift you get an immediate, much sharper sense of danger and potential for injury.

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I think when you talk about weights below about 50% of your max, almost no matter what your max is, Do feel different. 135, and 225, do NOT feel like they did when I first put them on my back. The experience is much different. Like, I could put 135 on my back right now and walk around with it like it’s a joke. There was a time in my life, as an adult, when I was not strong enough to unrack 135. But, unracking, say 405, feels pretty damn heavy and uncomfortable to me, much like it did when I first squatted it, even though I’ve done it for 12 reps, and I’ve squatted 560. I think the spectrum in general just changes. I would say squatting 560 doesn’t feel like anything I’d squatted before. The experience is different from what 315 felt like when I first squatted that.


Srsly tho kinda like other peeps have said max weights don’t exactly feel the same as you get stronger.

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I distinctly remember my first 400lbs squat. There was so much pressure in my head I felt like it was going to explode.

I also remember my first 220lbs over head press. I couldn’t prevent air escaping out of my mouth I was straining so much.

Maybe I just pushed harder given these were round numbers and then I became aware of what was necessary so I kept doing it or maybe you only feel these sorts of things with heavier weights. Don’t know but now I’ve lost strength I don’t get these sensations.

Bruh… are you ok? I’ve heard of intra abdominal pressure but not so much intra cranial pressure.