Opinion/feedback on rep recommendations vs weight increase
I'm working with a new client and although in the midst of her work outs with me she is struggling with the weight I have assigned to her for a particular strength training move, the next day she experiences no soreness whatsoever. I will admit I am a new trainer so there may be a little knowledge lack on my part here...but here's the question - All my other clients when I see them struggling at the tail end of their 3rd set - i follow-up to see if they are experiencing soreness the next day. All usually do and have the soreness in the muscle group worked the day prior. This client however has not. My question is do I bump up the dumbbell weight on the prescribed moves and just be extra alert on her form OR leave the weight as it is an up the reps from 12 to 15? Trying to find which would be most effective...thanks so much all.
I would not make muscle soreness or lack thereof an indicator whether or not the amount of resistance was appropriate.
When I see clients 'struggling with a weight' as you put it, it means that they cannot execute the movement without compensation. This should give you pause to investigate why that is so. The first thing I would do is reduce the weight to the point that the movement is correct. Once correct form is established and can be maintained you can look at the other variables such as reps and amount of resistance.
I agree with Karin that muscle soreness should not be an indicator of appropriate amount of resistance (or a good workout as some may think). In addition, not all clients will experience soreness the day after, but some will experience soreness one or two two days after.
The first thing I would double check is to make sure the client has proper form above all else. Your rep/set range will depend on your client's goals. When the current rep/set range becomes too easy for your client to execute in perfect form, then you could add more reps or resistance.
I would want to clarify what you mean by "struggling". If by that you mean your client is obviously pushing to get the last few reps out--in proper form--then I think the weight would be appropriate as you want the muscles to have that overload to be challenged. If form is compromised, however, then you have to re-evaluate the resistance or rep range.
As a new trainer, it may take some time until you feel comfortable choosing appropriate weights for clients and their threshold. Good luck and keep an eye on form...
As mentioned previously soreness is not an indicator of a good workout.
The main thing is your clients goals. If they are to build defined/toned muscles I'd increase the reps but don't go to failure unless you are on your last exercise and last set. Otherwise you just fried that muscle group and your client won't have an effective workout on any other exercise.
If they are trying to build strength then increase the weight appropriately and knock the reps down some.