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Photo: Christopher Jue (Getty Images) Some exercises, like squats, I’ve been doing basically forever. Even if I’m not using a program that tells me exactly what to lift , I can walk into a gym and have a pretty good sense of how much weight I should put on the bar. But what if it’s your first time doing a particular lift? This isn’t just a beginner question: Sometimes you know your main lifts, but then decide to try a brand new one (what is a “front raise” and how much weight should I use for one?) or you’re returning to something you haven’t done in a while. (It’s been years since I last did a hip thrust.) Fortunately, it’s not hard to figure out what weight to start with. Here’s how I approach every new exercise. Know what the exercise is supposed to do The first step is making sure you know what you’re actually trying to do, and how a given exercise differs from those that look similar. For example, a regular dumbbell row is done as a slow and controlled movement, while a Kroc row is meant to be explosive, and to use your core to rotate your body a bit. Both use a dumbbell, but a Kroc row will require a heavier dumbbell. On the other hand, a bent-over row usually calls for a barbell. Sometimes an exercise can be done with a variety of equipment: a windmill could use a dumbbell, a kettlebell, or […]