Quoting bryan - "Is there something magical about using 5-10 pound weight increments each workout? No. The idea is that the weight must steadily increase over time, or no further growth will occur. Go ahead and use the same weight twice, it's no big deal. If your starting weights are too small, use fewer increments and start with more weight. The smaller the muscle group, the smaller the increment. It's all relative. Using percentages of your max for each exercise will manifest the relative nature of increments. For example, if you decide to use 5% increase in weight each workout. For curls I would increase the weight 5lbs if my max was 100lbs. However, for squats a 5% increase would dictate that I increase the weight 15lbs if my max was 300lbs. So its relative to your max, which in turn reflects the the size of the muscle group. To simplify things, I just use 5-10lbs (~2.25-4.5kgs) for upper body, and 10-20lbs (~4.5-9kgs) for legs. Larger increments will tend to cause greater microtrauma, and by extension hypertrophy. Lower increments will be more conducive towards strength increases (and not so much hypertrophy). The reason is that you want the workout to be traumatic to the muscle tissue each and every workout. Therefore, the weight load has to exceed the muscles ability to structurally adapt from workout to workout. If the increments are too small, the workout won’t really be that much different from the previous workout, and as a result, will not cause much trauma to the tissue. Once again, smaller increments are generally more effective at developing “strength”. Here are the factors involved when establishing increments: 1) The minimum amount of effective (for hypertrophy) weight to start with. 2) The difference between the minimum effective weight, and your max 3) The number of workouts to go from the minimum amount of effective weight, to your max. Keep in mind that the above factors aren’t “constant”. Meaning, they are in turn effected by your level of conditioning, and your level of strength. The lower the level of conditioning, and the higher the level of “native”, or untrained strength, the larger the increments can be, and in turn, the more effective the cycle will be. Using smaller increments would indeed allow you to add workouts before reaching your max. Whether this hurts, or helps your particular gains depends on many factors that you couldn't predict. This is because "progressive load" is not an all or none principle. As with the other physiological principles of hypertrophy, it is a matter of degrees. The afore mentioned interaction between the Repeated Bout Effect and Progressive Load can be summarized in the following HST principle: - Muscle tissue is sensitive to both the “absolute”, as well as the “relative increase” in load. The “absolute” load is determined by the minimum effective load (which varies according to length of SD), and the “relative load” is determined by the size of increment you choose. How much the "minimum" load is, depends on the condition of the muscle at the time you impose the load. If you are an astronaut and have been weightless (extreme deconditioning) for 2 months, just the force of gravity on your limbs will induce hypertrophy. Also refer to the thread on Strategic Deconditioning for further discussion."