Weight lifting is a great way to stay trim, toned, and in shape. However, since it requires you to put your body through a lot of strenuous exercise, you need to make sure you do it right, otherwise you could end up straining your muscles or hurting yourself.
Do not start cold
Never start weight lifting without warming up first – you could end up hurting your muscles badly. Before you begin, get your muscles ready for the impending exercise by stretching, and doing some light aerobic exercises like cycling, jogging, or using the elliptical machine. Your muscles will start humming, and your fat-burning mechanism will be activated.
Focus on the level of intensity
Tension and intensity are key to building up your muscles and gaining the most benefit from weight training. Most people focus solely on speed and the number of reps – however, in order to hone and build your muscles the way you want, you need to put all the intensity you are capable of into the exercise. Make sure you consult with your fitness trainer in this regard.
Be prepared to work for progress
In the initial months of weight training, you will see rapid changes, and significant muscle gain. However, after two months or so, the visible changes will begin to slow down, and you will need to work even harder to keep progressing.
Only snack afterwards
Never snack before or in the middle of weight training – this will make you feel complacent and lazy, and you will probably just end up slowing down. Instead, have a light snack comprising 200-300 calories after an intense weightlifting session, in order to replenish the energy you used.
Be careful with joints
There is a specific amount of pressure that your joints can take, and you need to be careful in order to ensure that you do not strain them or make them vulnerable to injury. Avoid hyperextending, use only the weights you can handle (do not work out with weights you can barely lift), and do not lock your shoulders, knees, or elbows, as this will make you more prone to injury.
Pay attention to efficiency
Focus on making each workout session efficient, so you can obtain the maximum amount of benefit from it. Use barbells instead of dumbbells, so can exert your prime mover muscles more, and aim for exercises that stimulate the most muscles with the least amount of body movements required – this way, you will be able to exercise more without tiring too quickly.
Take care of your back
Weight training naturally involves the lifting of weights, and thus you need to maintain the correct posture when you put this sort of strain and pressure on your back. Ask your trainer to guide you in this regard, and make sure you keep your back straight at all times, in order to avoid straining and injuring yourself.
Remember to breathe
Most people get so caught up in the intensity of weight lifting that they forget to breathe and end up holding their breath throughout. This is not the correct way to go about it, and you must make sure you regulate and control your breathing if you don’t want to injure your muscles – inhale when relaxing your muscles, and exhale when exerting force.