If you mention strength training to the typical man or woman in the street, they will probably assume you are speaking about weight lifting. Even though weights belong in a typical strength-training program, the techniques applied differ from those used in this competitive sport. Strength training is all about strengthening your muscles by compelling them to resist the forces of gravity; this is why some people prefer to call it resistance training. If the program succeeds, you emerge with larger and stronger muscles. The training may focus on increasing your strength or improving muscle hardness. Each of these objectives requires a slightly different approach to the use of weights.
Make sure strength training is for you
Even though strength training can contribute so much to improving fitness some people must check with a health professional if it is safe for them to do. For examples, if someone has had a joint replaced or repaired they need to ask their doctor if they can exercise in this way. If you have any doubts about your medical state, always get the situation clarified before starting strength training.
Get a competent trainer
Although you can find great strength training materials in the library and online, there is no substitute for the services of a qualified trainer. If your budget does not stretch to a private trainer, see if you can find a local group to join. Reading materials give a good general overview of the principles, but if you try to make a program for yourself unaided, you are unlikely to know how to adjust it to your specific goals. Someone who is not familiar with how to lift weights properly can easily give himself or herself a painful injury if they proceed without any supervision.
Start strength training with dumbbells
Some people have this tendency where they want to jump in at the deep end, but this approach is not the recommended one in this case. Although you can achieve much more when you work with the heaviest weights, it is best to start with lighter dumbbells. It is much easier to learn the techniques with these lighter weights. By the time you are ready to proceed with heavier weights, you will know how to handle them to achieve the maximum results while avoiding injuries.
Increase the weights you can lift gradually
Progressing gradually is a key strength training principle. Even when you feel confident that you lift a certain weight safely, do not be tempted to skip intermediate weight levels and aim to lift a much higher weight. Always pay attention to your form as you lift the weights. You need to maintain this form when you move on to heavier lifts. It is important to challenge yourself but if you take on an unrealistic challenge and end up sacrificing form you lose, and also risk injury.
Better to lift weights while barefoot
Contrary to what you might expect, it is not a good idea to do weight lifting while wearing trainers – even the most expensive and high-quality varieties. The experts recommend that you weight life while barefoot. No doubt many will find this strange advice, but it has a firm scientific basis. First, you find that when you stand barefoot, it gives you more lifting power and stability so you can lift heavier weights that you can lift while wearing footwear. Also, it also ensures that the feet benefit fully from the strength training as well as the muscles in your arms.
Weightlifting needs preparation
Although you can just get out of the car, go to the gym, change your clothes, and start lifting those weights, it is not advisable to behave in this way. For the best strength training experience, you should spend ten minutes on preparations. Some people want around the block, do stretch outs or other exercise designed to make the body less stiff. Since stiffness is one of the most common causes of strength training injuries, you certainly should not neglect these preparations – even if you happen to be very pressed for time that day.
Unwind after a strength training session
Just as you should not fail to spend ten minutes on preparation for your strength training session, remember to set aside time to unwind after the session. Some recommend that you spend about ten minutes stretching out. Also, make sure to have a break in between sessions to give your muscles time to recover. Do not do strength training on successive days but allow at least a 24-hour break before going back to the gym.
Make good use of breathing techniques
Normal healthy people don’t usually give much attention to how they breathe. It is such a regular bodily function that it only attracts attention if something goes wrong. If you start to do strength training, paying attention to how you are breathing becomes significant. A good breathing technique helps to avoid injury and improves the effectiveness of this training. Try to breathe out when you are working away hard lifting up the weight and breath out when you relieve yourself of this pressure.
Set out a strength training schedule
To achieve the maximum benefits from strength training, you ought to set a schedule. The experts suggest you should aim to focus on strengthening each key muscles group in two or three sessions each week. During the sessions try to repeat each exercise at least ten times in succession and then take a break for a minute before you repeat this exercise. Since you need to give muscles at least a day’s break after each workout, three is the maximum number of workouts you can cram into a week.
Strength training is more fun in company
A well-disciplined individual who has learned the techniques well can certainly do their strength training alone, but most people find it more motivating and enjoyable to do these exercises in company. Even if you do not have any friends who want to come along, you can easily make new friends in a strength-training group. To get the most out of the experience take advantage of the social opportunities while improving your fitness.