When it comes to lifting weights, there’s a time and a place to go light.

And a time and place to go HEAVY!

What I have found over my years of coaching is most people don’t really know how to lift weights heavy.

There are really two perceptions of “heavy” that I have identified being expressed by humans.

The first being “yeahhh that’s fairly heavy. I’m just going to stick with that.”

This is probably the most common sentence used when strength days come around.

But just remember what i said at the start…

There is a time and place to go a little less than “heavy.”

And some days this is acceptable.

However, when Coach says “alright guys, today I want you to go HEAVY and really push yourselves!”

This leads us to the second perception of the weight on the bar being “heavy.”

As a coach it’s fairly easy to identify if someone is really pushing their limits.

Let’s say Bob is completing his 4th set of his 5 rep back squat.

Now, he was instructed to “GO HEAVY!”

He was told his needs 2 minutes between each set to recover properly before going into the following set.

The first 3 reps he does easily.

The 4th rep was a little tougher, however he still stood it up with ease.

The 5th and final rep was a little tougher again, but he still proceeded to rocket up out of the bottom without any hesitation.

He re racks the bar and starts his rest period before the next set.

Now, he should need the full 2 minutes for his nervous system to regain some strength, and his legs to flush a little lactic acid.

But he asks the coach “do I have to take 2 minutes? I’m ready to go again”

Coach looks at the clock and it’s only been 45seconds of rest…

This is not going “HEAVY!” 

On the other side of Bob is his mate Paul.

Paul on the other hand is really pushing his limits.

His first 2 reps of the 5 rep back squat are solid.

However his 3rd rep he feels like he just hit a brick wall.

He is contemplating whether to go for his 4th rep, or re rack the bar.

He is literally shaking as he stands the bar up, however he is still holding great form.

The coach approaches Paul from behind as he can see he is going to go for this 5th rep and he wants to be there to help him up if things go south.

Paul digs deep, hits the rep and hits it with confidence.

Now, Paul is on the verge of not being able to walk properly.

He needs every last second of this 2 minute rest!

That is going “heavy.”

That is how you get the greatest results out of your body.

I will just reiterate again…

There is a time and place for doing something like this, and a time and place to go lighter in weight.

However the Coach will always set the stimulus for the workout.

Meaning he/she will explain how it should feel.

Just as a side note, Paul completed each rep with great technique.

So don’t for a second think I am condoning Intensity over Mechanics, because I’m not.

When it comes to lifting weight or doing anything in the gym it’s;

  1. Mechanics
  2. Consistency
  3. Then and only then comes Intensity

This is just to help you understand what it takes to push your limits a little in order to maximise your time in the gym and strength gains.