Lifting weights is a very valuable addition to your workout routine. It builds strong and lean muscles, which boosts metabolism and makes other forms of exercise easier to manage.
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However, it’s important to follow a clear set of guidelines to ensure that you don’t get hurt and that you get the most out of your strength training. Understanding the do’s and don’ts before you get started really helps. Here are the most common mistakes that people make when they grab their dumbbells and how you can avoid them.
Having No Plan
The first mistake that many people make when it comes to weight training is that they don’t have a plan. You can’t just decide you’re going to start lifting and then be ready to go. You’ll need to decide which type of weights you need, how often you’ll work out and how long each of your sessions will be. Without knowing this, your workout will be all over the place and you probably won’t be getting the maximum results from it.
As your body adapts to certain weight training moves, it tends to plateau a bit. By mixing and matching exercises during each of your sessions, you ensure that this doesn’t happen because you challenge your muscles in different ways all the time. It’s true that you’ll find moves you love and moves you hate, but mixing them up is your best bet for a toned and strong body from head to toe.
Starting Too Heavy
It’s tempting to grab heavy weights from the get go because you want results and you want them right now. This increases your risk of injury and makes it hard to complete a routine. Start with a smaller pound load and build on it as you get stronger and your endurance grows. You want a set of weights that allows you to finish one set of repetitions without compromising your form, though the last couple will be hard to eke out. Once that gets to easy, you’ll know it’s time to go a bit heavier.
Too Much Rest between Sets
It’s good to take a small break between sets, but going for too long can undo all your hard work. Letting too much time pass tricks your muscles into thinking you’re just warming up instead of powering out a good session. Experts say that you typically need only 30 to 45 seconds between sets, and after that time has elapsed it’s time to move on with the next set. If you’re doing a max weight set, however, you may need three to four minutes between sets so you don’t hurt yourself.
Not Enough Rest between Sessions
While it’s a good idea to do cardio exercise every single day, that’s not the case with weight lifting. In fact, the Mayo Clinic recommends doing only two or three strength training sessions each week, with each one being about 20 minutes long. You need at least one day of rest between weight lifting workouts to give your muscles a chance to repair and recover. This rest time is when they become stronger and more toned. Lifting too many days a row can stall your progress and up the risk of injury.
In general, lifting weights is a healthy form of movement for just about everyone. If you feel like you need more assistance, it pays to hire a personal trainer who can show you how to lift weights properly for the most benefit. Once you have the skills and confidence you need, you can easily create your own routine and start seeing the results you want. It’s also important to talk with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine, including lifting weights.