When I am at the gym, I see numerous people working out incorrectly and have no idea that it is going to cause a problem eventually. Improper posture, lifting too much weight and rushing through the workout can cause long term issues.
Here are some ways of lifting weights at the gym the right way:
1. Lift the proper amount of weight. If you can comfortably lift a weight 12 to 15 times, it is the proper weight for you. As you get stronger, increase the weight while still maintaining the 12 to 15 drill.
2. Use the proper technique. If you have a problem maintaining your posture then try lighter weights and less repetitions. It really makes a difference. Your knees should be slightly bent, shoulders pulled back and back should be relatively straight
3. Breathe out as you lift the weight and in as you lower the weight. For more of a workout, keep a bit of tension on the way back down. This will work the muscle more and you get so much more out of your workout.
4. If you do weights with the front muscles of the body, do them in the back. Most people work on their quadriceps but neglect the hamstrings in the back. What is really popular is working the calf muscles in the back leg but not working the muscles in the front and side of the leg. You want balance in the body and not over work some muscles while under working others.
5. Exercise different muscles each day. Don’t do biceps and quadriceps two days in a row. Switch to triceps and hamstrings. Resting muscles after a workout allows them to regenerate and get ready for the next set of repetitions.
Here are the Don’ts:
- Don’t skip your warm up. Remember, we are shortening muscles with a workout. That means they should be stretched before and after. Shortening a muscle that is already short will provoke an injury. Each stretch should last 25-30 seconds.
- Don’t rush your workouts. This will make you lose your form and won’t work the muscle as much as you would like.
- Don’t overdo it. I quite frequently hear people saying they are so sore they can’t move the next day. Working the muscle to fatigue is really all you need. Becoming so sore that you can’t move will not motivate you to get back into the gym. I recommend going about 70% in the beginning and working your way up. This way, you won’t be at risk of hurting yourself and you will be motivated to keep doing your workout.
- No pain, no gain theory is not a good way of working out. If it hurts to do an exercise, stop! This is your body telling you that something isn’t right. You may need to alter your weight or check your body posture.
Now that you know the proper way to work out, you can avoid hurting yourself and have the workouts you desire.