Strength training is an essential part of your fitness plan. Unfortunately, most of us do not have enough time to perform these exercises. The key is to cut our workout time by maximizing intensity and get the most out of your session. Here are ten things to remember when maximizing your weight training routine:
Avoid exercise moves you’re not prepared for
Weight training makes you grow stronger, but you can’t expect to achieve your goals in such a short amount of time. Don’t do too much too soon or you’ll risk getting injured. Injuries can set you back weeks or even months, so safety should always be your first priority. Take the principle of warming up and apply it at a macro level. Consider your first couple of weeks as a warm-up period so your body can adjust to new challenges.
Lift weights two or three times a week
Doing your weight training exercises once a week isn’t so bad, but if you really want to see positive results, you need to lift weights at least twice a week. However you shouldn’t lift weights more than three times a week. You need to have recovery periods between workouts to allow your muscles to grow.
Lift the right weight to make your routine effective
You need to lift the right set of weights to reap the rewards of your strength training. The right weight will cause muscle fatigue after three sets of around eight to twelve reps. Your muscles will grow stronger as you continue to train, so you need to increase the weight you lift gradually as you move along.
Target two or more muscle groups with one move
Engaging two or more muscle groups in one exercise offers more challenge and can save you a lot of time. Add combination exercises like burpees, kettle bell overhead squad to your routine, and dead lift with bent over row. Combo moves burn more calories compared to single movement exercises. It can also help break the monotony of your routine.
Use two exercise items simultaneously
If you’re looking to add more challenge to your strength training exercises, try using a resistance band with your dumbbells or hold a kettle bell while doing crunches with an exercise ball. Using two items at the same time engages more muscles so you’ll get results faster. These moves help bring down your exercise time and greatly improve conditioning.
Don’t rest between sets
Skipping the rest between sets adds more intensity and gives you a better burn during your workouts. Maintain proper form by doing your exercises in front of the mirror, especially if you’re feeling fatigued. You can also perform supersets (two exercises one after the other with no rest in between) to keep things interesting and overload your muscles. Another option is to perform cardio exercises like sprinting, jumping jacks, and stationary cycling between sets.
Use slow controlled movements
Using quick, jerking motion when lifting weight increases your risk for injuries and can be ineffective because you’re relying on momentum instead of your muscles actually doing all the work. Hitting the target areas with slow and controlled movements will help build stronger muscles.
Keep track of your progress
Writing down your progress and achievements will keep you on track with your goals. Seeing improvements will help keep you motivated to push for more. On a piece of notebook, write down details like your routine, the weight that you used, and the number of reps.
Vary your exercise to challenge your muscles
After training quite some time, your muscles will get used to the routine causing you to hit a plateau. Avoid this by varying your exercises, mixing the sequence, and using different equipment. Mixing your routine keeps your muscles guessing, giving you a more effective workout.
Warm-up and cool down
Never skip a proper warm up and cool down no matter how fit you think you are. Both these segments are necessary to avoid injuries. Warm up for at least five minutes for light workouts or ten minutes for more intense sessions.
Some people get too exhausted after workouts and take rests right away. After lifting weights, you need perform some dynamic stretches to bring your heart rate down to normal levels.
About the author
Simon Bukai owns and operates Vista Health Solutions, a health insurance marketplace. The company provides helpful advice and valuable insight to consumers looking for the best health insurance solution.