Weights will NOT make you faster. Anyone that says that doesn't know what they're talking about. Bulking up can only make you slower. You play slow because you have tension in your arms and hands. Get rid of the tension and you will play fast - simple as that. That's what your practice should focus on -- not on strengthening your hands for more endurance, but in relaxing so you never get tired in the first place. The absence of tension will also get rid of the soreness that may happen as you mention.
When you don't play for awhile, the muscles are not as coordinated as they could be, and in haste to play faster, you are using your muscles in an inefficient manner. Don't worry so much about speed right now. Take care of the coordination and tension issues and speed will happen on its own.
Have fun and make sure the bench is the right height!! lol
YES, YES, YES!!! You are absolutely right, Josh! (Your playing is evidence of that!)
I can preach this to my students 'til I'm blue in the face! Coordination is EVERYTHING
Far too often, the novice practices futility over utility. Attempts at "building strength" are often made by putting a constant downward pressure on the keys. To cite the metaphorical beaten dead horse, Chopin's 10/1 (the 10/2 even more so) is mistakenly played with this great downward friction and therefore great difficulty. This practice of keybedding is the single most destructive (not to mention frustrating) activity in which a pianist can engage. The correct technique is not one involving brute force, in fact the polar opposite is true! We must strive toward a technique of kinetic minimums
. Imagine the greyhound; with perfect coordination, it can attain astonishing speeds with, what at first glance, is a terribly frail carriage.
Coordination over force. I shall repeat that. Coordination ALWAYS takes precedent over force.
In case you missed it....
Coordination over force. Coordination over force. Coordination over force. Coordination over force. Coordination over force. Coordination over force. Coordination over force.
They still won't get it.