How Heavy Should You Lift to Get Big (HOW MUCH WEIGHT!)

  • Published: 13 September 2015
  • Build 100 percent strong, ripped, athletic muscle here…

    If you want to get big, you have to lift big weights. That is the advice that you have probably been given by one of the trainers or meatheads at your local gym. The thing is, if you want to know how heavy should you lift to get big, it’s actually not bad advice if and only if you pay attention to one very important point. In this video, I’m going to cover the most important thing you should know when it comes to discovering how much weight you should be lifting when trying to get big in the gym. In fact, even when you just want to build better muscles, this advice still applies and always will unless you are competing as a powerlifter.

    That said, the rule goes like this. If you want to know how much weight you should be lifting you only need to answer with the most you can lift without letting your posture succumb to the load. In other words, if your attempt to lift heavy weights makes your back crumble under a squat, or your knees cave in during a deadlift for example then you are lifting too heavy.

    The main goal when trying to determine how heavy you should lift or how much weight to use on an exercise is to maintain proper posture under load. It is very easy to maintain a perfect posture on a squat when you are doing a bodyweight version of the exercise. Throw a bar on your back and add a couple of plates and everything could change. The big mistake you can make is thinking that just because your bodyweight squat is performed in good form that you are qualified to do weighted squats.

    This isn’t automatically the case. If your posture rounds or breaks down as soon as you add a load you might want to reconsider the weight you are using if you want to stave off gym injuries. I’m not even talking about the injuries that happen on one single rep. I’m referring to those that occur over time as a result of the repetitive breakdown that comes from stringing too many ill performed reps together from workout to workout.

    If on the other hand you can perform a lift while maintaining proper posture but feel comfortable with the weights you are using so you don’t add any weight to the bar, this is just as big a mistake. You must try at every opportunity to add more weight to your exercises if you want to develop into a bigger, faster or stronger version of you today than you were yesterday. If you add weight and your form breaks, then drop back slightly and work with the weights you can handle with good form as you aim to increase the reps you can do with it.

    Once you get strong enough to handle the load of the new weight, you’re off and running and will have achieved progressive strength and likely size gains.

    If you want a complete workout program that shows you how to build strength as well as how to get ripped athletic muscles, head to and get the ATHLEAN-X Training System. See how heavy you should lift and get big by following the advice of a pro athlete physical therapist and strength coach through every one of your workouts.

    For more videos on how heavy you should lift to build muscle or if light weights serve any benefit when working out, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on RUclip at
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Comments • 1 584

  • Manish Kumar
    Manish Kumar  1 days back

    how to select weight for a given rep range please

    • davidaleman777
      davidaleman777  2 days back

      Aha! My knees sounds exactly like Jeff's.. so I'm on the right path.... Right??

      • Jeeses99
        Jeeses99  6 days back

        500 pounds, no belt, no straps

        And retarded people (especially the weak bodybuilding community) like to call him "weak and small".

        • Abel Toro
          Abel Toro  2 weeks back

          Beeing 5 feet tall he already half way done in the lift

          • Joseph Stulec
            Joseph Stulec  3 weeks back


            • Hadi 6867
              Hadi 6867  3 weeks back

              I love this guy

              • Big Bear W212
                Big Bear W212  3 weeks back

                Bro Im following you training and I love it I have never enjoyed doing gym by my self following your vids I'm going by my self and I love every single work out I'm doing I feel soo good after the session I never called anyone my guru but you my friend are my guru I did the shoulder work out today and I have never had my shoulders screem like this before and the pump o my gosh crazy love ur vids keep it up

                • Mood Music
                  Mood Music  3 weeks back

                  Nice video Jeff, Now tell us why you have been skipping leg day.

                  • Glen Risk
                    Glen Risk  1 months back

                    Not much actually. Squat less than that. Really like those Bulgarian split squats though. Does not seem to bother my lower back even when I go as heavy as I can handle.

                    • Daniel Harvey
                      Daniel Harvey  1 months back

                      as heavy as possible, safely.

                      • Omar Al-Sabti
                        Omar Al-Sabti  1 months back

                        Jeff is a fitness legend. Simple!

                        • Tamer Said
                          Tamer Said  1 months back

                          Please don't hurt urself

                          • jontc1
                            jontc1  1 months back

                            Brilliant advice as usual.
                            Can you do some stuff on training with Diastasis Recti please. I've had one for 10 years but I'm worried about making it worse.

                            • Rahul Rathnakumar
                              Rahul Rathnakumar  1 months back

                              @7:14 that's the story of both my knees, my left hip and am 23.

                              • Green Giant
                                Green Giant  2 months back

                                Just unsubscribed.
                                True Americans don’t lift kilos, we only lift lbs.

                                • Just a dude Man
                                  Just a dude Man  1 months back

                                  Green Giant True Americans also loose billion dollar probes in space, glad to know your crawling back in your hole.

                              • Jay Mayol
                                Jay Mayol  2 months back

                                I got that same issue with my knees, but thanks to this video I comprehend what I need to do, thanks Jeff.

                                • Smirking Smirkku
                                  Smirking Smirkku  2 months back

                                  Helpful video, thx for sharing!

                                  • Joseph Donnie Conjurado
                                    Joseph Donnie Conjurado  2 months back

                                    my 1 max rep in bench press is 130lbs so i consistently lift 50% to 75% of my 1 max rep , is it bad?

                                    • The Benchmarker's Table
                                      The Benchmarker's Table  2 months back

                                      I deadlift 250pounds like a champ with what you called shitty form😢

                                      • Md Sabbar Imam
                                        Md Sabbar Imam  2 months back


                                        • Coping Doomer
                                          Coping Doomer  2 months back

                                          WOW his form is literally perfect on the deadlift, the term "text book" gets used a lot in sports and it most certain applies here.

                                          • Don
                                            Don  2 months back

                                            I cant follow this. I think in kilo grams...

                                            • Andrew Levister
                                              Andrew Levister  2 months back

                                              I think he made this to flex his massive deadlift. Lol kidding he worked for it and earned it.

                                              • rectangleboy
                                                rectangleboy  2 months back

                                                7:07 *barf*

                                                • ATP Synthase
                                                  ATP Synthase  3 months back

                                                  I'm 19 and my knees are pretty shit too. Injured them twice playing football (soccer) with bad genetics. Squats can make cartilage in my knee lock up but deadlifting is no issue at all.

                                                  • Enigma
                                                    Enigma  3 months back

                                                    How much do you deadlift
                                                    Jeff: yes..

                                                    • Alchemia Official
                                                      Alchemia Official  3 months back

                                                      Anyone else notice the 44lb plate at 4:30?

                                                      • Kevin Roth
                                                        Kevin Roth  3 months back

                                                        Out there, are a lot of practical and theoretical examples that you can build muscles with light weight as good as with higher weight
                                                        But frequenzy, effort, Volume and trainings technique have to be adjusted.

                                                        So the probabylity is higher not to injure yourself.

                                                        • Lewis Miranda
                                                          Lewis Miranda  3 months back

                                                          This is a great education! And yes, my knees rattle too... Thank You Jeff!!!

                                                          • Possle
                                                            Possle  3 months back

                                                            Shit I needed this video.
                                                            I got comfortable and then feared going heavier and though I'd never get to lift my weight in a squat but did!

                                                            Can you apply the same reps to deadlifts?

                                                            Jeff your the man

                                                            • Verdant Grotto Barbell
                                                              Verdant Grotto Barbell  3 months back

                                                              If the Bar isn’t bending you’re pretending

                                                              • David Womack
                                                                David Womack  3 months back

                                                                those knees sound like my shoulder...

                                                                • Yd C
                                                                  Yd C  3 months back

                                                                  Hey man don't beat yourself up over your squat.. I hope you're doing better now, since this was 4 years ago!

                                                                  • Cousin Mose
                                                                    Cousin Mose  3 months back

                                                                    Do u not train legs cause ur knee?

                                                                    • Yound Se
                                                                      Yound Se  3 months back

                                                                      You are like a father man. Hope youre christian

                                                                      • Jun Villanueva
                                                                        Jun Villanueva  3 months back

                                                                        The most natural on youtube

                                                                        • Brandon Allen
                                                                          Brandon Allen  3 months back

                                                                          Whenever you're dong exercises and you go up in weight, it'd be highly entertaining and great editing (very minor) if you just transitioned the shot mid-movement as opposed to a cut in the action to give it all a seamless transition. So, you are coming up with two plates, and just before you hit the top, three plates appear. All on the same movement.

                                                                          • Juscody
                                                                            Juscody  3 months back

                                                                            Hi Jeff, if you do a couple of facepulls that knee should clear right up. 3 sets of 10 at the end of each work out, let me know how it goes.

                                                                            • The Sheed
                                                                              The Sheed  3 months back

                                                                              Thank you! Great video!

                                                                              • Diche Bach
                                                                                Diche Bach  3 months back

                                                                                Oh man, that knee cam crunching! YIKES!

                                                                                • Marco  Ornelas
                                                                                  Marco Ornelas  3 months back

                                                                                  Just lift heavy asf boy.

                                                                                  • B C
                                                                                    B C  4 months back

                                                                                    Have you tried a low bar squat technique?

                                                                                    • soulwreckedrsps
                                                                                      soulwreckedrsps  4 months back

                                                                                      Wow.. 500 pounds, no belt, no starps and wait he's 42 years old.. insane man respect

                                                                                      • Jeeses99
                                                                                        Jeeses99  6 days back

                                                                                        @Aurelio Intermagio
                                                                                        He's in the 170's. Pure muscle. Shredded AND strong.

                                                                                      • Fastnail
                                                                                        Fastnail  1 months back

                                                                                        @Aurelio Intermagio

                                                                                        Check him out online...looks similar.

                                                                                      • Aurelio Intermagio
                                                                                        Aurelio Intermagio  1 months back

                                                                                        @Fastnail at what weight tho.. Jeff's gotta be 180-190

                                                                                      • Caffeinated Critic
                                                                                        Caffeinated Critic  3 months back

                                                                                        Bob Donald

                                                                                        The dude is in his 40s AND 170lbs...but sure, be jealous and downplay him deadlifting 500lbs 🤣

                                                                                    • Peter Shanley
                                                                                      Peter Shanley  4 months back

                                                                                      Keep going do yourself an injury work through it. Don't load up like this you will do urself an injury and be away from the gym for weeks or months.

                                                                                      • coffeeguy
                                                                                        coffeeguy  4 months back

                                                                                        I Use trap bar deadlift for squating

                                                                                        • Richard Mahoney
                                                                                          Richard Mahoney  4 months back

                                                                                          Freakin pt's at my gym stare like im not doin it right

                                                                                          • Stefan Weiss
                                                                                            Stefan Weiss  4 months back

                                                                                            Hi I'm following your videos at an almost daily bases - they are a constant part of my lunch breaks ;)
                                                                                            You're doing a great job and I learned a lot from you.
                                                                                            Going to join your training program next month as well...
                                                                                            I've got a question:
                                                                                            I noticed that on some of you videos the camera is too close up and some of the impotant detail like your legs when your doing squats on this one, don't show.
                                                                                            You're talking about them, but you don't show them.
                                                                                            As I mentioned, it happened quite often that the camera is simply too close and I wonder if that might be intentionally done?

                                                                                            • CGadventures
                                                                                              CGadventures  4 months back

                                                                                              Cartilage grinding in the knees,😱. I feel your pain Jeff.