I'm pretty new to lifting (~1.5months) and I have been following the Bigger Leaner Stronger workouts. They mainly focus on high weight low rep training. The book asks you to lift about 70-80% of your 1RM, in the rep range of 4-6.

Today I was lifting 40Kg (88lbs) on the Bench press and I was able to get 6 solid reps. The problem was that my arms were shivering quite a lot.

Is that an indication that I should maybe reduce the weight? Or is it okay to lift as long as you hit the 6 rep target?

  • 2
    If they were shivering on every single rep, this could be indicative of someone new to lifting and that your nervous system hasn’t quite figured out what’s happening yet. I would expect this to cease relatively quickly. If it was on the last rep or two... Same deal... You’re just approaching muscle fatigue and the nervous system is again trying to figure out how to stabilize the weight. I wouldn’t call this dangerous, but do be aware that when you’re approaching failure with the bench that a spotter is very important for safety.
    – Frank
    Oct 12, 2020 at 19:14
  • I always thought it meant that your stabilizer muscles just haven't caught up yet. I wouldn't try to increase weight until that at least goes away because you know...stability is important. I also get this when not warmed up yet.
    – DKNguyen
    Oct 15, 2020 at 23:13

1 Answer 1


I had this issue when I was a beginner.

Weak muscles can shake or "shiver".. really it just takes time to get past it

A lot of it could be your stabilizer muscles such as biceps and core during a bench press aren't quite up to par yet, but balancing the bar during a bench press is a workout in itself. I had this issue until I surpassed 100 lbs on the bench press. You can also expedite it sometimes by using dumbbells as it forces you to find balance right away.

As long as you are using correct form, this is fine.. although it might help to prevent injury if you start a linear periodization program with blocks which is great for newbies and also builds up those muscles. Really I think what's best is to do a few months of dumbbell or unilateral training and try to keep reps above 8. This is just based off my beginner experience however. This will prevent asymmetrical muscles which is really common starting out, and fix those balance issues or the weak shivering muscles at least. Just give it time

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