Strength training is not as talked about as cardiovascular workouts but, if you were to ask any athlete or professional trainer, they will advise you that it is a vital component to a good workout. Making a concerted effort to train your muscles can have innumerable benefits, particularly when coupled with more traditional activities such as cardiovascular workouts.
Strength training will help to increase muscle mass and slow down the loss of muscle that normally accompanies aging. Muscle burns more calories than fat so strong, healthy musculature can help you to lose or maintain weight even at rest. Strength training can also help to improve bone density, maintain joints and speed up your metabolism so there are many reasons to add this type of workout to your routine. If you are planning on doing so, however, it is important that you go about doing so correctly in order to stay safe and avoid injury.
Consult a Professional
First thing’s first, consult a professional. Ask for an appointment at your gym to help familiarise yourself with all the new equipment you will be using and take advantage of the opportunity to question someone knowledgeable. Pay careful attention when they instruct you on machine usage, body positioning and types of exercises to do. Make sure you adhere to what they say so that you get the most from your workout and, importantly, avoid accidental injury.
Do not lift more weight that you are ready for. This can cause muscle injury and negate the efforts that you have already made and set you back in you efforts. Always start with less weight than you think you might need and add more gradually until you are able to comfortably lift five to nine times. What you are looking for here is a weight that is comfortable but that will offer a bit of a challenge on the last three reps or so.
Get a Routine
Strength training is about targeting specific muscle groups at a time to increase strength. Bear this in mind and schedule your gym visits or home workouts to ensure that you spread the strain out equally amongst your muscles. Never work out the same muscle group twice in a row and also ensure that you do not work the same group more than three times a week. Muscles need time to recover from their exertions so stay safe and give them time to rest.
Keep Good Posture
Make sure that you stick to the postures taught to you by your trainer. This means ensuring that you never lock your joints so, when standing, you should always have your knees slightly bent. Knees should also stay aligned with the toes and hands should be kept equidistant from the centre of the bar. Utilise a spotter where possible as they will help you keep the best form for your lifts.
There are many reasons to take up strength exercises but, in order to make the most of these benefits, it is vital that you follow these tips to stay safe while working out.