I am currently starting to change my habits, I'm 330 and 5'11. How can I determine the amount of weight I can lift safely and to make progress for weight-loss. I'm currently doing cardio and someother exercises depending of the day of the week.

Regards and thank you in advance!

4 Answers 4


It is you who can determine the amount of weight that you can safely lift. Key point in weight-loss by doing weight lifting excercises is to do many repeats for each of your moves.

For example if you want to make dumbbell fly excercise for chest muscles, take small and not heavy dumbbells and do minimum of 15 repeats. If you don't feel tired during the excercise, increase the weight on next set.

You will eventually find the correct weight for yourself by trying from less weight to higher. But for weight loss, be sure of doing every move properly with minimum of 13-15 repetitions and 4-5 sets so don't try with heavier weights that you think you can't complete the excercise.

I hope this information will help you.

  • 1
    Thank you very much for clearing it out for me!...Will try today! Very helpful!
    – Ch32k0
    Aug 20, 2013 at 15:00
  • Agree that experimentation, starting light and working up is the right approach. However, I disagree with 15 reps - that's too light to do much. I'd suggest something more like 5 or maybe 8-10 at a maximum.
    – G__
    Aug 21, 2013 at 1:13
  • 2
    Well, the thing is if you are going to do 5-8 repetitions as you suggest, with light weights you are not going to get tired or sweat. So you will need to do the training with heavier weights to compensate, which will help more to build muscle.The information I gave was just for fat-burn, weigth loss.There are ways of approaching for both fat burn and muscle build, for example by doing 15-12-10-8 repetitions while increasing the weight in each repetition to get your muscles tight and tired. And 5 repetitions with heavy weight is for just bulk muscle building.
    – canova
    Aug 21, 2013 at 6:43
  • I'm following this and it's working great, thank you!
    – Ch32k0
    Oct 23, 2013 at 14:47
  • You are welcome. I am really glad that you are satisfied with the information I gave :)
    – canova
    Oct 24, 2013 at 7:03

I have no idea why everyone is advocating a higher rep amount as this is counter intuitive to building muscle. Yes, you read that correctly, building muscle. The fact is the more muscle mass will help burn fat faster (Muscles require more energy) so increasing muscle mass at the same time would be much more beneficial than doing light weight with many reps.

  • There are variant ways for specific goals in fitness. See my comment below my answer. Each training style is focusing for a different approach but for faster weight loss, I certainly disagree with low repetitions.
    – canova
    Aug 21, 2013 at 6:46
  • I have many times quoted papers (In other answers) stating that a rep range between 8-12 is the ultimate for building muscle. And building muscle and losing weight go hand in hand as muscle gain will accelerate fat loss.
    – Petter
    Aug 21, 2013 at 6:55
  • While I agree that instead of just cutting fat, body-recomposition is the way to go, I am still skeptical that adding muscle has a significant effect towards burning more calories compared to the exercise.
    – Baarn
    Aug 21, 2013 at 14:54
  • @PetterOlsson absolutely agree with your opinion on high reps. I made the experience for myself and a friend of mine, whom I coach, that heavy exercises with low reps and low rest time between the sets are a better benefit for losing fat and maintaining strength.
    – mchlfchr
    Sep 26, 2013 at 7:25

For weight loss, you basically need to do 15-20 reps on each exercise. And like Sir SC mentioned, if at the end of 15 or 20 reps you feel like you could do more, then that weight was too light for you.


One book that I would have loved to purchase when I began lifting is Starting Strength, no affiliation. In this book the authors recommend starting with the bar (a standard olympic bar is ~45 lbs). This sounds counterintuitive, especially for a heavier person, but there are reasons for this. When learning the exercise, form corrections are best made before weight is added to the bar. After the exercise is learned, one should always start the exercise warm up sets with the bar to get the blood flowing, warm up tendons/ligaments, and other things. I'm summarizing b/c I don't fully remember, but I read enough to know it's important, and I have done it enough to know that it helps when your legs are still sore from two days ago, but every day is squat day, that easing into your warm up sets with the bar isn't so bad. :-)


I'll add that in that book there are logical progressions for adding weight to the exercises, if that's your next question. If you feel like you're not progressing "fast enough", take your ego out of the picture and just follow the routine, they've done all the heavy lifting for you. Odds are if you stick to it you'll naturally elevate to where you should be.

Update 2

Note that this isn't just for gaining weight. Heavier people will lose weight while gaining muscle (such as myself), while those with less mass will gain weight. The diet is then difference. So in the OP's case, this is a viable option although it goes against the mantra of 'low weight more reps'. Partly because while that advice works, once your body adapts to that low weight at a certain # of reps, you will no longer tone and have to increase the weight to get the same effect. Not to mention the effects on the body's metabolism are different.


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