Strength training is a great way to tone your body and get physically fit. More important than the amount of weight you lift, proper form is essential for success and safety. If you work out in the gym regularly, you’re likely to see some glaring mistakes.
Failure to warm up before workouts puts your body at risk of injuries. A ten-minute walk on the treadmill will get the needed blood and oxygen to muscles to ensure an efficient and safe workout. Warming up on a rower or elliptical is better still as you work your upper body as well.
Progressive Overload for Muscular Development
Weights that are too light will not challenge your muscles. A muscle will only strengthen when forced to perform beyond its normal intensity. The overload must be progressively increased in order to further muscle growth.
Adding more resistance, increasing the number of repetitions with a particular weight, increasing the number of sets, or increasing the intensity by reducing the recovery periods can increase overload. The harder you train, the quicker you will see results.
Lifting Too Heavy Too Soon
Lifting heavy weights too soon will develop the strength of the muscles’ contraction faster than the structural strength of the muscles, tendons and ligaments. This will cause pain and possible injury. The recommended resistance level should permit twelve to fifteen repetitions. If you find yourself shaking under the weight, it’s probably too heavy. Overdoing sets and repetitions often leads to painful injuries, which can be discouraging as well as dangerous.
Poor biomechanics like jerking the weight, or using momentum instead of steady muscle contraction reduces the progress of muscle growth and will result in injuries. Extending your knees over your toes places too much stress on knee tendons and ligaments. Failure to contract your abdominal muscles, and keep a slight bend in your knees can cause back problems as well.
No variation in a workout can cause extreme boredom. After awhile the body adapts to the same old exercises and they no longer challenge the muscles to grow. This usually leads to “plateaus,” or stagnant growth.
Unbalanced workouts, or focusing on certain muscles to the exclusion of others, can lead to poor posture and pain. Muscular balance is important to protect the joints and prevent back and knee injuries. For example, some people focus on their biceps and neglect their triceps resulting in shoulder injuries.
Breathing for Weight Training
Improper breathing technique, or holding your breath, will hamper muscle growth as well. The muscles need oxygen to grow. In general, exhale as weights are pushed up, and inhale when bringing them down.
Stretching out “cold” muscles can be dangerous and may also lead to injuries. An easy walk on the treadmill will warm muscles enough to allow a stretch before your workout. But after a workout, it is very important to stretch to prevent a shortening of your muscles and a loss of range of movement.
Proper Nutrition Required
Starving yourself before a workout may cause your body to preserve fat and perform poorly. If you tend to fade midway through a hard session, low energy may be the culprit. A light meal an hour before working out is recommended.
Dehydration reduces blood volume and inhibits a good workout. You need to replenish the water you lose through sweating by drinking a cup of water every fifteen minutes during exercise.
Mistakes in strength training can hamper muscular growth, and possibly cause injuries. Take these tips to heart and your muscles, those fat burning organs, will thank you.