Weight training is a type of strength training that uses weights for resistance. By creating a stress to the muscles performed with free weights (e.g. barbells and dumbbells) or by using weight machines, these exercises will enable muscles to be activated and get stronger.
Effective weight training depends on proper technique. You might learn weight training techniques by watching friends or others in the gym — but sometimes what you see may not be safe or truly effective. Incorrect weight training technique can lead to sprains, strains, fractures or other painful injuries that hamper your weight training efforts.
For safety reasons, it is advisable for new members to schedule sessions with a personal trainer before embarking on your weight training program. By learning proper techniques and the variety of training equipment, you can decide the exercises you enjoy most and suited to your fitness needs. Your trainer will assist you in creating the most effective and well-balanced training program for yourself.
If you have been using weights for a while on an existing training regime, you may also consider scheduling time with a trainer to demonstrate your technique and also identify any changes you may need to make - Take your existing training to the next level.
Proceed with care
Always start with a lighter weight. This is crucial to enable you to work on form and technique first, rather than an immediate work out using brute strength. When you have learnt to lift correctly, you also reduce your chances of strain and injury.
Also if there are any aspects that you are unsure, and research via reading and watching videos did not manage to clarify your doubts, always seek the help of fitness professionals to teach you the right techniques and to come up with an appropriate fitness program. Your personal weight training program not only includes your goals, it also takes into consideration any existing medical conditions and physical limitations you may have.
Choosing your weight lifting method
It is important to select the right weight lifting method, not only at the beginning of your weight lifting routine, but also as your program progresses. Selecting the right weight lifting method depends on several factors such as:
- Experience level
- Conditioning level
- Specific goals
- Time constraints
- Motivation levels
It is usually best to begin with a relatively simple weight lifting method and keep it simple for your first few weight training sessions. As you make progress, you may want to modify your program by implementing more variation. When you are confident with more strength and understand your body well, you can advance with more body building training techniques.
Warm up and cool down
To warm up at the beginning of your weight training, use small amounts of weight for your first few reps during your first set. Once your muscles are warmed up, then progress to heavier weights for subsequent sets.
After you have completed your weight training session, it is important to stretch. If you are rushing to the shower after every workout, you could be shortchanging yourself from reaching your full strength potential.
Many often think since stretching is less intense and not suited to their goals, stretching does not value add to their training. In contrast, stretching helps make you stronger. Stretching expands your range of motion that will indirectly help to increase muscular strength which will transfer to your weightlifting. When lifting over a greater movement pattern, more muscle fibers are activated, thus strengthening your muscles.
DOs and DONTs
- Do keep your back straight when lifting.
- Do use proper lifting technique when moving weights around the room.
- Do wear shoes with good traction.
- Do make sure the equipment you use is in good condition.
- Do not hyperventilate (breathe in and out fast) or hold your breath when you lift heavy weights. You may faint and lose control of the weights. Breathe out when you lift.
- Do not continue lifting if you feel pain. Stop the painful exercise for a few days, or try it with less weight.
- Do not lift heavier weights than you can handle.
- Do not lift heavy weights without spotters (someone to assist in helping you to lift) or push more than you can normally do safely.