There are many benefits of resistance training. Adding resistance training to your fitness regime increases your metabolism, helping you burn body fat while resting, improves your muscle strength which can help reduce your chance of injury, and can help you maintain your flexibility and balance.
While strength training offers all of these benefits, it's also important to practice proper form when training.
Why is proper form important when resistance training?
Depending on what results you're looking for you have to train smart! There are several reasons why you'll want to make sure you're performing certain exercises properly. Proper form not only targets and strengthens certain muscle groups but it also helps to prevent injury, will get you to your goals faster, will conserve energy, and can help you breathe more effectively during exercise.
How to properly lift weights.
Always warm-up before any workout. Do at least 5 minutes of either aerobic or dynamic movement to get your muscles warm and activated.
Don't arch your back, strain your neck, or swing any of your body parts to gain momentum for the movement. There is a time and a place for that, but not when you're first learning how to lift.
Increase your weight by small amounts at a time. If that weight wasn't giving you enough of a challenge you can up it on your next set of reps.
Use full range of motion to make sure you're working the entire muscle.
Focus on the muscle you want to work and make sure it's being used. Some exercises are easy to do without engaging the proper muscle.
Breathe! Breathing properly is also very important. Breath out on the lifting portion of the exercise and breathe in on the lowering.
What should you NOT do when lifting weights?
There are a lot of things that can go wrong if you're not paying attention to form. Things to avoid when resistance training are lifting heavier weight than you're able (losing form), rushing through your movements, doing so many reps you overload your muscles, and working through pain. Make sure you're starting with weight you're able to keep proper form with. You can always work your way up to a higher amount of reps once your strength increases.
Learn to lift weights.
If resistance training is something you're interested in doing a personal trainer is one way to make sure you're doing everything correctly.
If you don't have the means to hire a trainer or join a gym there are many resources you can find online to help you with your form.
Next blog post: What's the difference between muscle strength and endurance?
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