Weight lifting is a vital component for most fitness regimes. Whether your goal is purely aesthetic, to increase strength, or to build muscle or for whatever reason it is that you are or want to start weight lifting the following tips will certainly be of use to you.
Tip 1: Perfect your form.
Contrary to popular belief, practice does not make perfect. Practice makes permanent. In your early days it is definitely worth spending time perfecting form. Dont even start thinking about increasing the weight until you are sure that you understand exactly how an exercise should be executed and ensure that you are doing so safely, correctly, and comfortably. Nail the basics. If you have to video record yourself and watch it back to assess, make tweeks and perfect the movement then do it.
Tip 2: Keep your ego in check.
For some reason, there is a stigma about using the lower weights. I’ve heard them referred to as things like ‘baby weights’ and ‘fairy weights’. Frankly, the negativity surrounding the lower weights baffles me. Everybody has to start somewhere and honestly, sometimes it is more appropriate to use the lower weights – if you are doing higher volume for example. No matter who is lifting what in the gym, don’t ever think you should be doing the same. You could be comparing your step 2 or 3 with someone elses step 50. They may have an entirely different goal and thus a different method of training to you. They could have been lifting for 10 years where as you may have been lifting for 3 months. Work at your own pace.
Tip 3: Stretch, Stretch and Stretch.
In my opinion, this is the most under appreciated aspect of weight lifting. If you ever try to perform a squat with tight hip flexors you will very quickly understand why. Make sure you dedicate time to stretching, more than just a warm up and cool down, actually dedicate a portion of your workout regime to increasing your flexibility.
Tip 4: Breathe.
Sounds simple right? Suprisingly though, it is not uncommon for people to forget to breath whilst lifting. but how do you forget to breath?! I have no idea, but I used to be guilty of this myself. I guess it is to do with levels of concentration and tension. Controlling breathing technique will not only assist in injury prevention but will actually make the exercise easier to perform because you are not depriving the muscles of oxygen and we haven’t gotten to where we are today without understanding the importance of oxygen!
Tip 5: Rest days are ok.
Every good program should have a scheduled rest day or at least make an allowance for you to decide when to take a rest day. Lifting weights basically causes lots of little tears in the muscles in order for them to grow. Failing to take rest days is denying your body the chance to recover which can be absolutely detrimental to progress and is likely to cause injury. Not taking a rest day is counter productive. Take it. Rest and recover.