Are you tired of going into the gym and getting on the same bike or treadmill every day? Or is running just not really your thing? Or maybe you feel fit but you just want to look toned or get stronger? Well, perhaps it’s time you gave weights a try! Weight training has many benefits besides just trying to burn calories. These include increased bone density, increased strength of muscles and other connective tissue, decrease likelihood of injury, and improved ability to perform more strenuous tasks found in day to day life, just to name a few.
Many people are already familiar with the benefits weight training can have on our health, but not all know how to safely train with weights. So, if your new to or looking to try out weight training, here are five handy hints and tips you can implement to improve your exercise regime!
This is considered the crux of all forms of weight training and plays a crucial part in ensuring this form of training remains beneficial to your health. It doesn’t matter if you are using a few small weights to help you get toned, or are a competitive weight lifter. This point is essential for all! Good posture engages your core muscles and is the foundation for your power, and, it goes akin with injury prevention in terms of lifting safely. In simple terms, stand up straight and shoulder back!
Relax, take a deep breath
Perhaps the easiest trick to implement into your weights regime, breathing. Breathing helps relax and centre your focus on good posture and form whilst lifting weights. It plays a key role in your body’s ability to control blood pressure, which is elevated during weights training. To ensure you have the correct breathing pattern, inhale prior to the lift, then exhale on exertion. So basically, breath out on the hard part!
Full Range of motion
First, I will start of by saying yes there are styles of advanced training where implementing partial movements is beneficial for an individual’s training. However, for the masses of us this is not the case. To ensure we remain anatomically efficient movers in day to day life, a consistent full range of motion will achieve the best results. So ensure you go all the way down and up as long as it’s comfortable.
A simple yet difficult concept, this basically means gradually make it harder each time. Now there are many ways of doing this, but the simplest way is to lift a little heavier each time you do weights. Now for those of you who don’t yet know what reps and sets are, reps are the amount of times you perform the action, and sets is how many times you repeat the number of reps.
For example: 3 sets of 12 reps of push ups, means do 12 push ups 3 times.
Now, still with me?
Keeping all this in mind you want to aim to complete each set, but also feel tired by the end of each one. You do not want to hit 12 reps feel like you could have done 20! Be sure to push yourself to achieve the best results as always, just be aware of your limits.
Stretch, stretch, stretch!
This is particularly important when taking up a weights program. When lifting weights the muscle is encouraged to become shorter and tighter as we train it. Some simple stretching at the end of your workout can counteract this. The muscles and joints in your body will maintain their full range of motion and can prevent injury to the muscles and joints down the track. In other words, stretch, stretch, stretch!
So there are 5 simple hints and tips you can implement to your new weights regime if you are looking to try something different and expand your horizons. My last advice I will part with you however, is to always seek help where needed. Learning something new is never easy, so always seek help from a personal trainer if you aren’t sure or would like a program that is tailored to you. If you have any reason for concern about starting a new program, always feel free to see your local GP before diving in. And finally keep an open mind, get out of your comfort zone and enjoy it.
Written by Daniel Kilpatrick
Personal Trainer, Planet Fitness Lambton