Pro Weight Lifting Advice

Lifting weights isn’t an exact science, but if you head for the gym without the slightest inclination of what to lift or how to lift, then you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage, hindering your goals and making life difficult for yourself. This is true whether your goals are to get super strong for personal reasons, or to become a champion powerlifter.

Take at look at this pro weight lifting advice to get a jump start on those goals.

Pro Weight Lifting Advice: What to Do

Walk Before you Run

When you start strength training you need to avoid pushing yourself too far too early, otherwise you’ll be sore for a week and will struggle to train in that time. The trick is to apply as much tension to those muscles as possible to allow for maximum growth and performance, but not to cross the line that will lead to severe DOMs. The only way to do this is to start small and test your limits. Eventually you’ll reach a point where you can push yourself all the way on workout day without suffering for it the next.

Practice Good Firm

It’s essential to practice good form, even more so if your goals are to build strength or to make it as a powerlifter. Your joints have a limit and you won’t be able to go on forever. With bad form, this limit could kick-in during your 20s, rendering you broken and beaten before your prime. With good form you’ll be able to push yourself into your 30s, 40s and beyond.

Record yourself as you lift or ask a friend to study you, and make sure that your alignment and your movement is perfect. If you’re struggling, take the weights off the bar and practice weightless reps until you nail the form.

Train 2 to 3 Times a Week

Two to three times a week you should be working on building your strength. Make sure that you cover all muscle groups in this time, giving yourself a complete workout and really pushing yourself. This excludes any other workouts you do, so you will also want to make time for cardio and ab work, as well as any sports you play.

You need to think like an athlete. A football player, for instance, will spend several days a week running routes and learning tactics, but they will still devote time to go running, build size, etc.,

Take Time Off

More training doesn’t necessarily mean more results. If you push yourself 6 or 7 days a week, then you’re not giving your muscles time to repair. You grow outside of the gym and when you grow you get stronger, it’s as simple as that. If you really push yourself then whether you’re feeling sore the next day or not, you should still stay out of the gym and wait for at least 48 hours before you get back in.

Breathe Properly

The way you breathe will have a signifiant impact on your strength gains and form. Breathing properly can help you to perform extra reps and even extra sets.

Avoid holding your breath when you lift. This is a beginner’s mistake. The trick is to exhale while you’re pushing through the exercise and to inhale while you’re resetting it. A bench press, for instance, would require you to inhale as you lower the bar to your chest and exhale as you push it up.

Pro Weight Lifting Advice: What Not to Do

Don’t go Fast

Quickly going through the motions may be easier and it may get you through your workout quicker, but it’s not going to stretch your muscles as much as going slow would. The slower you go, the more tension you apply to your muscles and the more results you will experience. You may also reduce injury risks from over-extending and locking your knees and elbows.

Push to Fail

One of the main reasons first-time lifters don’t see results is because they carefully manage their workouts to avoid over exerting themselves. They choose a weight they can comfortably lift for 10 to 15 reps and they scale up slowly so they can do the same reps on the last set as on the first.

You always need to be pushing yourself. Opt for heavier weights and fewer reps and make sure that you push to failure each time. Rather than choosing a weight that will comfortably get you though 15 reps, choose one that you will struggle to lift beyond 6 or 7. And don’t worry about the next 2 or 3 sets, because failure on the first set doesn’t mean you won’t be able to do further sets or even add further weights. It’s a short-term stamina fail, not a long-term one and a short rest is sufficient to get you ready for the next set.

Mix it up

It’s possible to reach a plateau very quickly when lifting weights and this can be enough to put a halt to your goals. Your body will become accustomed to the exercises you’re performing if you’re doing the same ones week after week. So mix it up. Change your split after 2 or 3 months and change your workouts as well.

Don’t begin with shoulder presses and end with bench presses every time. Don’t begin with 100 pounds, move to 120 and finish on 150 every time. Swap exercises and change your sets (throwing the heaviest one in at the middle instead of at the end) to keep your body guessing and stop your workout from becoming routine.

End with a Finisher

A “finisher” exercise is one designed to apply maximum tension to your muscles for a sustained period of time, making sure they are sufficiently worked and allowing for more growth during the recovery phase. These exercises involve holding a specific pose until you can hold it no more and they are best performed when you’ve been training for a few months and understand your limits.

For instance, a “finisher” on your chest can be a dumbbell bench press, with the weights held just above your chest, thus avoiding any strain on your shoulder and elbow joints while still maximizing the tension applied to your pectoral muscles.

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