man in the gym. weightlifting

How to Tell If You’re Lifting Too Much: 5 Signs You Need to Lighten Up

Strength training, through weightlifting, is a method for enhancing muscle development, boosting strength and fostering self assurance. However, it's crucial to recognize when you might be overexerting yourself or putting yourself at risk of injury. Fortunately, there are indicators that can assist you in determining if it's time to reduce the intensity of your workout routine. Presented below are five signs to watch out for;

1. You can’t maintain proper form.

Maintaining form is crucial when it comes to weightlifting. It involves keeping your spine in a neutral position, engaging your core, ensuring your shoulders are pulled back and down and aligning your joints. By following these guidelines you can effectively target the intended muscles and prevent stress on your tendons, ligaments and bones.

It's important not to compromise form in an attempt to lift heavier weights. Doing so diminishes the effectiveness of your workout and also increases the risk of injury. For instance if you arch your back or swing your arms while performing bicep curls, you're placing added strain on your lower elbows, which can result in discomfort and inflammation.

The solution is straightforward; reduce the weight until you can execute each exercise with form. By doing this you'll still enjoy a workout while safeguarding yourself against harm.

2. You can’t complete the full range of motion.

One indication that you might be lifting weights that are too heavy is when you cannot complete the range of motion during an exercise. For instance if you're doing squats it's important to be able to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the ground or even lower. Similarly, when performing chest presses you should aim to bring the bar down until it touches your chest or goes below.

Ensuring that you complete the range of motion allows you to engage all your muscle fibers and maximize the benefits of each repetition. It also contributes to improving your flexibility and mobility which are crucial for fitness and well being.

If you notice yourself cutting short on reps or neglecting parts of an exercise movement it's likely a sign that you're lifting much weight. Consider reducing the weight until you can perform the exercise with range of motion. You will notice a difference in how your muscles and joints feel.

3. You can’t finish your sets or reps.

One clear indication that you might be lifting too much weight is when you find it difficult to complete your sets or reps as prescribed. For instance if you're assigned to perform 3 sets of 10 reps for an exercise but you can only manage 6 reps on the set and 4 reps on the set it's evident that you're pushing yourself beyond your limits.

Excessive lifting can lead to fatigue, burnout and frustration. It may also hinder your progress in training and impede your ability to achieve desired goals. To effectively build strength and muscle it's crucial to challenge yourself with weights that're appropriately heavy – to make you work hard but not so heavy that completing sets or reps becomes impossible.

4. You feel pain or discomfort during or after lifting.

One of the indications that you may be lifting too heavy is when you experience pain or discomfort, during or after your workout. This discomfort differs from the expected muscle soreness that typically arises after a session. Muscle soreness tends to reach its peak within 24 to 48 hours following exercise and gradually diminishes within a day. It signifies that your muscles are adjusting and becoming stronger.

The pain or discomfort serves as a warning sign that something's not right. It could indicate an injury or the aggravation of an existing condition. Such sensations can manifest in the back, knees, shoulders, neck, wrists and elbows.

If you encounter any form of pain or discomfort while engaging in weightlifting exercises it's crucial to halt and seek guidance from a doctor or physical therapist. They will be able to diagnose the cause of your discomfort and provide treatment options along with preventive measures. Ignoring warning signs can result in worsening conditions over time and potentially lead to serious issues.

5. You don’t enjoy lifting anymore.

One clear indicator that you may be lifting much or overtraining is when the enjoyment of lifting starts to dwindle. Engaging in weightlifting should ideally be a source of pleasure, satisfaction and personal growth. It should instill a positive feeling about oneself and their capabilities serving as motivation to continue striving for fitness and overall well being.

If you find yourself dreading your workout sessions, losing interest in weightlifting or feeling bored or frustrated with the results you're achieving it's highly likely that you're pushing yourself beyond your limits. You're not providing variety, recovery time or enjoyment in your routine. Lifting has turned into a tedious chore.

The remedy lies in injecting some excitement into your routine by incorporating different elements. This could involve altering the exercises you perform, adjusting the number of repetitions and sets, varying the tempo or rest periods between sets or even experimenting with equipment. Additionally, trying out partner workouts or joining a group training session can introduce new perspectives and support systems to enhance your lifting journey.

It's also important to take rest days to allow your body time to recover and recalibrate. Furthermore, revisiting the reasons why you started lifting can reignite that spark of motivation within you.

Consider setting goals for yourself and diligently tracking your progress along the way. Rewarding yourself for achieving milestones can further enhance your commitment to this pursuit. Additionally, incorporating music playlists tailored to your preferences or indulging in podcasts or audiobooks during lifting sessions can add a layer of enjoyment.

Remember; The key is to infuse fun and pleasure back into weightlifting while embracing the journey, towards self improvement.


a man's hand holding a dumbbell

Weightlifting can be a way to enhance your fitness and overall well being as long as you approach it correctly. Overdoing it can have bad effects on both your mental health. It might result in a restricted range of motion, incomplete sets or repetitions, discomfort and a loss of enjoyment.

To avoid these issues it's crucial to lift and pay attention to your body's signals. Striking the balance between challenge and comfort, effort and recovery work and play is essential. Selecting weights that are suitable for your level of fitness, goals and personal preferences is key.

By following this approach you'll be able to enjoy the benefits of weightlifting without putting your health or happiness at risk. You'll build strength, increase muscle mass, and boost confidence while maintaining well being. It's about finding the fit for you when it comes to lifting weights.

James Freeman


Meet James Freeman, a California native whose passion for fitness emerged during challenging times, reshaping his life. With over two decades of coaching experience, he's not just a coach; he's a real-life example, shedding over 100 pounds in a journey to a healthier lifestyle. Beyond his coaching career, James is passionate about inspiring at-risk youth and promoting wellness in schools. In his downtime, he enjoys swimming and cycling, connecting with nature. Join him on his Instagram and LinkedIn profiles for insights into his empowering fitness journey.