For a moderately strong women, I would suggest anything from 45 lbs and under. If you find this to be easy still for the amount of reps prescribed, there are a few ways you can make the exercise more difficult:
1. Adding in instability through a bosu ball or foam pad
2. Slowing down the movement to a 3 count on the way down and 3 count on the way up.
3. Holding weight away from body so that you are forced to use core to keep back straight and upright.
Remember that technique is the most important thing in doing any weight lifting exercise. Full range of motion in the correct movement should come before any increase in weight.
With strength training you want to find a weight or progression of each exercise that allows you to complete it with some strain but still with good technique. If an exercise gets too easy where you feel like you’re not getting much out of the exercise, adding weight or some sort of difficulty to the exercise is a good option. What I mean by difficulty is by adding instability or taking away any assistance you may be getting.
For example, the bench dips, you can either add weight, move to bar dips, or perhaps replace bench under feet with an exercise ball. Each one of these options should make things more difficult for you and get you back down to prescribed sets and reps.
The general rule of thumb I use for weight lifting, is choosing a weight you can complete the exercises with using correct technique and full range of motion. It is important to pick a weight that challenges you, but not too much where you are struggling through each motion and compromising your technique.
Another way to figure out how to increase weights, is by the figuring out the percentage of your 1 Rep Maximum weight. Find the absolute max weight you can lift in a certain lift and then do a percentage of that weight. Remember to have good form when determining that one max rep.
For lifts of 8-12 reps. between 60-70% of 1 Rep max is appropriate
5-8 reps: 70 – 80%
3-5 reps: 80-90%
1-3 reps: 90%+
Hope this helps and good luck with training going forward.
– Coach, CXC Academy