Increase the Damn Weight!

Increase the Damn Weight!

By Chris Young

The one thing that holds people back in their training is not increasing the weight. It’s strange to me as someone who has a tendency to sacrifice form in order to put a couple more kilos on the bar, I find it hard to get my head around the fact that most people seem to expect a headed letter from the Prime Minister, giving them permission to increase the load before they’d actually do so!

This is what heavy looks like!

Perhaps I’m being a little unfair; it’s not as if one can add weight ad infinitum; if you could, you’d be an international lifting superstar within 3 years! Or perhaps there’s more to increasing the weight than meets the eye.

Reps Dictate the Weight

This is a great system for beginners and some intermediate (6-24 months) trainees. Simply put, if you hit all your reps on all your sets then the weight increases next session. Now this can either be done completely on a particular exercise, so if one Bench Pressed 70kg for 3 sets of 10 reps then the next session the trainee would attempt 3 sets of 10 with 72.5kg. Or, it can be done partially, so the next session of Bench Presses would 2 sets of 10 at 70kg, and 1 set at 72.5kg. If this were achieved then the trainee would progress to 1 set at 70kg, and 2 sets at 72.5kg.

Ascending Loading

Or as it seems to be called these days Forced Spectrum Ramping! I had to check this because I really can’t keep up anymore. I’m sure in some sections of the interwebs it’s called Russian Blasting or something equally as comical!

All this means is that the weight increases each set with the reps remaining the same; the trainee will keep going until they can’t hit their target reps. If the trainee were performing Box Squats then the progression might look something like this


Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5
100kg x10 110kg x10 120kg x10 130kg x10 140kg x8


A trainee at any level could use this form of progression.

Auto Regulation

This used to be called “Instinctive Training” and it pretty much means that if you’re feeling good then go for it; if not then perform a solid session but nothing too heavy or hard. To train in this manner you should be either a well-attuned intermediate, or an advanced trainee (over a year of solid training). A word of warning; it’s very easy to be lazy when you give yourself this option.

To guard against this possibility my crew and I will often do a forfeit if we don’t train to a max; so you have a choice, if you really can’t go heavy then perform the forfeit. This might surprise you, but the forfeit isn’t usually your favourite exercise performed with the pink dumbbells!

The other Captain Kirk; lifting legend!

Wave Loading

This is a technique that is for advanced trainees only, due to unavoidable high volume. It’s similar to ascending loading but once you hit a tough weight you would drop back down before building back to a heavier weight; 3 to 4 of these waves would be performed with the view of ending on a new max weight. For the Deadlift it might look something like this


Wave 1 140kg x3 160kg x3 180kg x3
Wave 2 140kg x3 160kg x3 180kg x3 190kg x3
Wave 3 140kg x3 160kg x3 180kg x3 190kg x3 200kg x3


But I don’t Need all that Muscle

It’s possible that you could be reading this thinking “but I don’t need to be that strong, I only want toned muscle!” As much as I’d be tempted to tell you where to go, I guess I should give you a chance if you’ve come this far. Let me put this simply; if you want to get stronger the weight needs to increase. If you want more muscle, even if it is tone (damn, I hate that word) the weight needs to go up. If you want to lose fat, guess what? The weight needs to go up. Whatever your training goals, yes you guessed it, the weight needs to go up!

But I don’t want to get that big! Fat chance!

So now you have some techniques you can use to increase the damn weight; no waiting for the telegram from the Queen; take action in your next gym session.

Chris is a British and World Champion Drug Free Powerlifter who has worked in the fitness industry since 1985, he currently runs the gym at the very prestigious Spa at Pennyhill Park ( Along with Powerlifting, Chris has competed nationally in Martial Arts, and has dabbled in Drug Free Bodybuilding. Chris can be contacted through