Weight Training the Right Way
If you really, really want to get fit, your workout should reflect that. Instead of doing 20 million crunches, or just focusing on your core or certain areas of your body, incorporating weight training into your workout can make a world of difference.
Courtesy of our fitness expert, here are some ways to get the most out of your workout by weight training the right way.
Don’t Force It and Avoid Injury
No one expects you to be Iron Man when you first start weight training, so it’s best not to force it.
“When it comes to weight training, you want the workout to be somewhat of a struggle, however, you don’t want to risk injury by packing on weights that are too difficult to control,” says Sean Wells, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA, and the fitness expert at bistroMD. “It’s best to start with the basics, and then increase your weight from there.”
Remember: technique is always more important than strength.
If you don’t practice the proper technique, you could be putting yourself at risk for serious injury. Some of the most common weight training injuries are: sprains, dislocations, strains and fractures.
“One of the best ways to reduce your risk of injury during weight training is to start off working with a weight training specialist, or with a licensed athletic trainer,” says Sean. “This is the most accurate way to ensure that you always practice the proper technique.”
Important Fitness and Safety Tips
Even if you don’t have the ability to seek out the advice of a licensed expert, there are a couple of golden rules you should keep in mind before and while you are weight training.
1. Make sure you breathe
“More often than not, people just forget to breathe while they are working out, which causes problems,” says Sean.
This is not good because holding your breath can cause your blood pressure to spike rapidly, which can lead to serious problems. Always remember: Exhale during the lift and breathe freely throughout your entire workout.
2. Check with your doctor
If you are over the age 40 and are trying to get back to a more active fitness level, it’s always important that you consult with your physician first.
“Your doctor can really give you a good idea of where you should be starting in your training,” says Sean. “They can give you a good starting point, and then you can progress based on your needs.”
3. Lift the right amount of weight
The weight you lift should make your muscles feel tired, and you don’t really need to do more than 10-15 repetitions. If you feel fatigue after 12 repetitions, then you know you’ve found a good starting weight.
4. Balance things out
“The best workouts are ones that work all of your major muscle groups,” says Sean. “This is your legs, chest, back, shoulders, arms and abdominals.”
5. Rest is most important
Your body needs time to recover from a major workout, especially if it’s something you aren’t typically used to. Always remember to give your body about a day between workouts of the same muscle group.