For many people, the words “strength training” brings out images of heavy weights, lots of sweating and grunting as well as physical discomfort. Of course, if you are working a bodybuilding program, you may very well find yourself lifting incredibly heavy weights – however, if you are like the vast majority of people, strength training should not be about struggling with weights and worrying about hitting yourself over the foot, but rather about gaining stamina and endurance.
In fact, strength training is the use of resistance to muscular contraction in order to build the strength, size and definition of your muscles, but it is also about toning and making your overall body feel stronger, leaner and healthier.
If you are a beginner, you will definitely want to discuss, with a personal fitness trainer or other qualified person, the best and safest way of incorporating strength training into your daily or weekly routines. When it comes to strength training, you will always want to put safety first as you can easily hurt yourself if you are unfamiliar with the concepts involved.
One of the biggest misconceptions about strength training is that “more weight is better”. This is not true. You should always start with a weight that feels comfortable for you. You should choose a weight that you can lift for a series of reps – without having to struggle excessively. As a general rule of thumb, you want to be able to perform a minimum of 6 reps done with some difficulty, all the while keeping your form structured and safe. If you can’t get through one set, then you are definitely using too much weight and, if you find yourself being able to do 20 reps without a problem, then you are using too little weight.
Work on your form before anything else. While it is great to brag about how much you can lift – if you are not doing it correctly or safely, you will be doing all this work for nothing. You will gain absolutely nothing from the experience and, in fact, you might end up seriously hurting yourself.
Remember to rest for approximately 2-5 seconds between reps. You are not running a race, so take the time that you need to lift your weights properly.
Finally, you should always warm up before starting any strength training session. Never simply start picking up the weights – without having properly set your body up beforehand as this is the surest way to injure your muscles.
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