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Marilyn Monroe weight benchPicking the correct weight from the rack can be a tricky endeavor.

Too light and your workout is easy. (Nobody wants that.) Too heavy and you run the risk of injury. (Again, not desirable.)

If you’re on your own or in a fast-paced workout, use common sense to pick a starting weight and then pay attention to TWO things, says Rob Sulaver, the founder of Bandana Training in New York City and our go-to guy for how to start lifting heavy weights.

1. How many reps you’re able to do.
2. How fast you’re able to get those reps done.

If you can complete all of the reps in your set of 10 to 15 AND you can complete those reps pretty snappily, then move on to a slightly heavier weight for the next set.

Work your way up gradually until you find a resistance that feels challenging. You may even need to Goldilocks your weight selection—too light? too heavy? Ahh, just right. —As told to Melisse Gelula

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