Introducing some weight lifting tips into your fitness program is important for a number of reasons.
You can lose 40% more fat lifting weights instead of doing just cardio plus you’ll burn more calories through your fitness program and throughout the day.
Weight lifting helps your body to build stronger bones that will reduce your potential for osteoporosis and you’ll get into shape faster giving you a body that looks really toned.
And weight lifting will also help to improve your cognitive functioning – your thinking skills!
Remember though, it is also important that you are lifting weights the right way or you can greatly increase the potential that you could suffer some sort of injury that might sideline you from any sport for weeks.
Safety is an important consideration in any gym where people are using machines or free weights.
Let’s look at some of the “How to’s” of lifting weights safely and effectively to build the lean muscle mass you are aiming for.
1. If you’ve never lifted before, or have never been taught, get the help of a personal trainer.
Most people will just watch their friends, who are often doing it wrong to begin with, and it can lead to serious injury.
2. Wear clothes that are light, airy and not restrictive. Bring a water bottle for hydration and gloves to keep your hands from getting blistered.
Gloves will also give you a better grip on the weight.
3. Rest, sleep and recovery are the watch words of the day when you are weight lifting.
Overworking your muscles can lead to tears that don’t heal properly, increased risk of injury and poor muscle growth.
Instead, put at least 48 hours between each workout and don’t overdo it.
When you rest you are allowing the muscle to recover and build up stronger.
4. If you are lifting using free weights, then you should have a spotter. The spotter can have two functions.
In the first place they will do what’s expected, and that’s to be sure that you can lift the weight and can help if you get into trouble.
But an experienced spotter can also help you maintain your form when they notice an arm lagging or an end to the weight listing. Keeping proper form will also help to reduce injury.
5. When lifting free weights it’s important to remember that the further away from your body it is, the more stress or load it puts on your back.
This isn’t good pressure or part of your fitness routine, but over time can cause damage to your spine and discs.
A 20 pound weight, held 10 inches from your body will put a 170 pound pressure on your back. But, held 20 inches away, that pressure hits 250 pounds.
6. Get to know your body and the major muscle groups that you’ll be working. A lot of gyms have posters that demonstrate the muscle groups.
7. There is good pain and bad pain. The good pain is fatigue and the bad pain is real pain in the muscle groups.
The expression, no pain no gain is not applicable here. Working your muscle to fatigue can create muscle sorness later, which is also pain.
Never try to work past any type of pain because you’ll just drastically increase your risk of very serious injury.
8. Form over function. In the gym, it’s more important that you lift with good form than the amount of weight you can heft.
Good form will help reduce your risk of back injuries, slipped discs, broken bones and tendon and ligament damage.
9. Pay attention to the weights you are using the muscles you are focusing on. It can be easy to do lateral pull downs without actually using your lats!
Clinical Interventions in Aging: Enhancing cognitive Functioning in the Elderly
University of New Mexico: Resistance Training improves mental Health
MayoClinic: Weight lifting tips Dos and Don’ts of Proper Technique
NerdFitness: Strength training 101
Active: 12 Reasons You Should Lift Weights
Military: How to lift weights safely