Bellevue Personal Training | Weight Lifting Tips for a Successful Workout

Did you know that weight lifting is NOT just for bodybuilders? In fact, the general consensus is that strength training is an important part of ones’ fitness, as is cardiovascular exercise. If you’ve never used free weights and participated in a strength workout it can be a bit daunting, and not a bad idea to hire a certified Personal Trainer for some structured workouts and guidance. Otherwise, if you follow the tips I’m about to mention below and ease into it gradually you should be good to go!

Form is the most important thing: It is fairly common for people to start with too much weight, not exercise good form, and get hurt early in the game. Therefore, form is really THE most important thing. Think of it as setting a proper baseline, then progressing upward. Form means that one should align the body properly and move smoothly through an exercise, controlling equally the lift of a dumbbell and the descent. Starting light is a great way to do this, knowing you have nowhere to go but up, and confident that injury will be avoided.

Control: By this I mean to control the weight rather than using momentum ( ie: swinging the body part), to affect the lift. A common technique is to count “one, two,” as you lift upward, and the same to lower the weight down. Another way to do it is to switch things up by using just one count to lift the weight, and a count of three to lower it down. (Harder!!)

Breathe: Always breathe throughout the exercise, never holding your breath during a movement. Holding your breath can actually cause your blood pressure to rise unnecessarily. Exhale as you are lifting, pushing or pulling a weight; inhale as you release the weight.

Keep Challenging Your Muscles, No Matter Your Age: There is no ‘right’ weight ~ it’s very individual depending on the exercise and the person doing the exercise. Choose a weight that tires the muscle group within the last two repetitions, allowing you to maintain good form. If that was too light and you were able to keep going, choose a heavier weight for the next set. Or, if it was too heavy and you were unable to complete the set, drop the weight a few pounds for the next set. Other ways to challenge muscle groups is to do three sets per exercise rather than two, or add additional workout days during the week. Please ensure enough rest time for your muscles by waiting at least 48 hours before exercising the same muscle group again.

Workout Regularly: Exercising your upper and lower body either two or three times a week is perfect. Check in with yourself and see how your recovery is from two sessions a week, then decide if moving up to three times a week is in your best interest.

Recovery: Giving your muscles time off for rest is extremely important. A little known fact: as one weight trains tiny tears occur in the muscle tissue. As you rest/take time off from that muscle group the tears heal, making that particular muscle much stronger. An aside: as one ages recovery take a bit longer. Stretching, drinking lots of water, massage, and soaking in Epsom salts can all facilitate a faster recovery. Listen to your body and all will be well ☺

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