Yesterday I worked out with 10lb dumbbells and now I feel that burning sensation in my arms. I have heard that this means it's time to get heavier weights. I do reps of 60 to feel the burn, and I believe this is a waste of time.

What weight should I use and how many repetitions and sets should I do? What does the burning mean, and how should I feel when I do the workout correctly with dumbbells of the correct weight?

  • 1
    Regarding DOMS (the burning that you mention), you may find this question helpful.
    – G__
    Commented Feb 9, 2014 at 22:44
  • 2
    Your questions require more knowledge of your goals. What do you hope to attain in the long run?
    – rrirower
    Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 13:59
  • I agree with @rrirower , please post your goals or lack thereof for a better quality answer. Depending on what you want to achieve, you will need to follow a certain outline.
    – MDMoore313
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 16:09

4 Answers 4


If you want to become stronger and/or bigger (muscle-wice) you do not need to do 60 reps. 6-12 reps per set is about right.

Burn feeling means little.

If you are a beginner , you might find http://stronglifts.com/stronglifts-5x5-beginner-strength-training-program/ program usefull.


A lot of body builders uses an excelent technique to build muscles, i use that too and got great results. So, you apply the first rule of 6-12 Reps. When you get to between 8 and 10 rep, you should be nearly falling on the lifting, yeah! Thats a FAILURE, you have to reach that failure, because you exhaust your fibers, but no all of them!, so you go 2-4 reps after the failure, doesnt matter if you cant do the whole motion , if you got the half of it, you count it! So, go to the failure and then you count 4 more reps after the failure! And with that my friend, you will recruit the other fibers that we didnt work at the "easy" part of the exercise!

Advice, why should you watch body builders training/routines/ techniques?? They live "fitness/Weight training" 24 hours/ 7 days per week! So they will give you, really good advices, and techniques, study them! Nutrition/Training/Routine, but put a filter on that! Apply everything you want to try or learn, with a supervision of a professional!

  • 6
    Firstly, training to failure every time is not a very good idea, think overtraining. Recommending such advanced techniques as partial/forced reps to someone who lifts 60x10lbs per side (read 'beginner') is quite irresponsible. Secondly, bodybuilders are way more advanced than most everyone here. If you listen to their tips, you need to have their technique, recovery, strength, pain tolerance, time, nutrition and most everything else. Pro-bodybuilder's advices/routines/techniques are most of the time not made for you and me.
    – user8119
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 16:16

The burn is actually a good thing and you should always strive for the burn. If you're not feeling the burn then you're either lifting too light or heavy. 60 reps might be not the best rep scheme IMO.

The best rep range for biceps is around 8-15 reps depending on your goal. 8 for mass building and the higher reps for definition.

  • 2
    Can you explain why one should train for the burn (sources, please)? I train max-strength (3-5 reps) and progress well, even without experiencing burn.
    – user8119
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 16:19
  • The burn can be seen as an indicator of biochemical stress. Training for max strength, wih low reps does not cause neither myofibrillar nor sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. It only stimulates the nervous system, and as such leads to increased strength. So if hypertrophy is the main goal, then some burn may be warranted. However, from own experience, "pump" is the feeling that subjectively portrays a good hypertrophy session. Burning I feel when doing sets in the endurance-range. Commented Jun 1, 2014 at 18:22

I once attended a trade show for Health and Fitness as an exhibitor. I had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Olympia Lee Haney. We briefly spoke about training. The one comment that stayed with me the most was Lee's assertion that the number of reps is not nearly as important as trying to recruit the most muscle fibers during each rep. He suggested squeezing the muscle for a count of 3 for each rep. Yup, when Mr. Olympia gives advice, those things tend to stick with you.

  • Wow! Tough crowd. Anonymous even.
    – rrirower
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 12:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.