Weight training: Do’s and don’ts for proper technique
Effective weight training requires proper technique. Follow these do’s and don’ts to maximize your weight-training program.
You don’t have to be a bodybuilder or professional athlete to take advantage of the benefits of weight training. When done correctly, weight training can help you lose fat, increase strength and muscle tone, and improve bone density.
However, if you do it incorrectly, weight training will not give you these benefits, and is even likely to cause injury.
Control your technique
You could learn weight-training techniques by watching your friends or others at the gym, but sometimes what you see is not safe. Incorrect weight-training technique can lead to sprains, strains, fractures, and other painful injuries that can make it difficult for you to exert your weight.
If you’re just getting started, work with a knowledgeable weight-training specialist – a physical therapist, athletic trainer, or other fitness specialist who is familiar with proper weight-training technique. If you’ve been using weights for a while, consider consulting a trainer to check your technique and identify any changes you need to make.
Tips on weight training
When you’re training with weights, do the following:
Lift a proper weight. Start with a weight you can lift comfortably 12 to 15 times.
- For most people, a single set of 12 to 15 repetitions with enough weight to fatigue the muscles can build strength effectively and be as effective as three sets of the same exercise. As you gain strength, the amount of weight gradually increases.
- Get the right shape in your body. Learn to do each exercise correctly. When lifting weights, use the full range of motion of your joints. The better you do the exercises, the better your results and the less likely you are to get hurt. If you can’t do them correctly, reduce the weight or the number of repetitions. Remember that maintaining proper body shape is important even when picking up and replacing weights from the shelves.
- If you’re not sure if you’re doing a particular exercise correctly, ask a personal trainer or other fitness specialist for help.
- Breathe. You might be tempted to hold your breath while you lift weights. Don’t hold your breath. Instead, breathe out as you lift the weight and breathe in as you lower it.
- Look for balance. Work all your major muscles, including your abdomen, hips, legs, chest, back, shoulders, and arms. Strengthens opposing muscles in a balanced way, such as the front and back of the arms.
- Incorporate weight training into your workout routine at least twice a week The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends incorporating strengthening exercises for all major muscle groups into your training routine at least twice a week.
- Get some rest. Avoid exercising the same muscles two days in a row. You can work all the major muscle groups in one session two or three times a week or plan daily sessions for specific muscle groups. For example, you can work your arms and shoulders on Monday, your legs on Tuesday, and so on.
What you shouldn’t do when you train with weights
Follow these tips to avoid mistakes
frequent weight training:
- Don’t skip the warm-up. Cold muscles are more likely to be injured than hot muscles. Before lifting weights, warm up with a 5- to 10-minute brisk walk or other aerobic activity.
- Don’t rush. Move weights slowly and in a controlled manner. Doing it slowly will help you isolate the muscles you want to work and prevent you from using the momentum to lift the weights. Rest for about a minute between exercises.
- Don’t push yourself too hard. For most people, completing a series of exercises to fatigue is usually enough. Additional sets may take longer and cause overuse injuries. However, the number of sets you do may vary depending on your exercise goals.
- Don’t ignore the pain. If an exercise causes you pain, stop. Try to exercise again in a few days and try to do it with less weight.
- Don’t forget your shoes. Shoes that protect your feet and provide proper traction can keep you from slipping or injuring your feet while you lift weights.
Remember that the more you focus on proper weight training technique, the better results you will get from your weight training program.