T Nation


Why is it that i shake when i lift?

For example, if i am benching say 80 pounds my arms will begin to shake, especially at first, even though i max out around 165. This leads people to believe that i can barely handle the weight.

When i had just begun lifting and was getting advice on my form for bench squat ect. the trainer recommended me to do a lot less weight than i think i should have. He said i should do about 65 pounds bench on upper body days and said stuff like ‘oh you’re going to feel that in the morning’ as he watched me bench 65 pounds. Well, i didnt.

anyway, i dont really care so much. I mean it doesnt matter if people THINK i can barely handle blah amount of weight as long as i am improving and whatnot. This doesn’t happen with other people who i lift with and doesnt bother me at all, but i would just like to know if anyone else is like this or knows why i shake?

thanks in advance

Shaking usually occurs when the nervous system is not accustomed to using numerous muscles in a certain lift. Ever try using one of those balance boards for the first time? Your whole body will be shaking back and forth as you try to balance yourself because your brain can’t activate the muscles it wants to efficiently due to inadequate nerve transmission. This condition will disappear after subsequent training sessions as the body learns how to coordinate the muscles firing and is nothing to worry about as far as i know. Keep lifting and your shaking should disappear! You must be quite new to the bench press then? Take care…
Pete “shake n’ bake” man

My guess is that it has something to do with your training age (how long have you been training?) and the speed with which you perform your reps (are you doing them very slowly?).

I bet that as you get more experience with the exercise and if you lift more quickly that the shaking will go away (this is not to say that I think you should perform your reps very fast though). I don’t think a little shaking is a big deal so just keep at it and it should subside.

BTW, it’s ok not to train too heavy if you’re starting out. You want to learn the movements before you start increasing the weights you handle.

The next time your “trainer” says something like, “wow, you will feel that in the morning,” stop benching, kick him in the stomach, then Power Bomb him through the nearest flaming table. Then, politely, tell him, that HE will feel THAT in the morning.

Heh I shake after a workout if its really intense. I’ll be trying to unlock my front door, or pick objects up and my arms are shaking like im on crack. That’s when I know I had a good workout, when I can barely stand and manipulate light objects.

Peteman took care of the nervous system - you will shake at lifts that you are new at due to the inability of muscles to coordinate their firing patterns to elicit the necessary stability (i.e. not used to the movement). but you’re muscles are also going to shake at weights that you are unaccustomed to even on movements you are very familiar with due to 1. stabilizing muscles not strong enough to handle the weight, and 2. at higher weights, most of your muscles are contracting maximally at the same time, leading to a slight imbalance in the direction of force generated for a given weight. either way, neural, muscular or both, employing many different training methods by varying parameters and tempo will allow you to break through any plateaus, gain stability, and reach your goals.

and definitely, though i highly disagree with this on any occasion, feel free to knee your PT in the groin.