What are the different approaches and pros/cons of each method of increasing the weight used in strength exercises?

I have been using a certain amount, and when it becomes "easy" then increasing it and repeating that process.

I have seen other approaches of increasing the amount of weight in each set, or increasing each day...

Is there a correct way?

Does training for size vs strength make a huge difference in the answer to this question?

  • 1
    There are a million methods for increasing the weight used in strength exercise. Help us by narrowing this down: are you trying to decide between 2 or 3 methods? Do you have a specific goal or set of goals? Has something not been working well in your workouts? Without some sort of narrowed focus, this question is almost too broad to answer. Nov 7, 2013 at 22:30

1 Answer 1


Josh, if I recall correctly, the reason why you aren't increasing every workout is because you're using dumbbells with too large of a jump between each weight.

That is one totally legitimate reason to just increase reps for a while until it gets easy, and then to increase weight and drop reps back down to a "starting" number of reps at the new weight.

However, training this way will move you between training strength (when you first make the jump to the new weight and can only do a small number of reps) to training endurance (when you have been at a weight for a while and can do many more reps), and back and forth as you progress.

Having fine control over the choice of weight that you will use in any particular workout is important to keep pushing one aspect of muscular development.

If you want to train strength, you should keep using a weight that you can just barely complete 4-6 repetitions with.

If you want to train muscular endurance, your weight increases should also be small, so that when you increase the weight, you can still do 12+ repetitions.

  • Hi Kate. My dumbbbells are adjustable so while it would be somewhat of a pain, I could use different weights for each workout. The reason I don't is more due to reading a bunch of seemingly contradictory advice and not being sure which to follow, so sticking with what I thought was the simplest.
    – Josh
    Oct 8, 2013 at 21:35
  • Is switching between strength and endurance like this actually a bad thing? It sounds like I would be getting the benefits of both training for both.
    – Josh
    Oct 8, 2013 at 21:36
  • @Josh It depends what your goals are.
    – user4644
    Oct 8, 2013 at 22:18
  • I want to get generally more in shape, size and strength, without focusing on either in particular.
    – Josh
    Oct 8, 2013 at 22:21
  • @Josh Just to confirm, you are against focusing on either?
    – user4644
    Oct 8, 2013 at 22:24

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