Moving weight from point A to point B, and getting stronger in the process, seems pretty simple. But there are some common pitfalls that derails progress and can lead to injury. Here’s five important strength training tips for beginners you shouldn’t ignore.
Plan Your Goal
As with any goal, the more specific you can be the more likely you are to develop a successful plan. A vague goal like, “I want to get stronger” won’t help you develop a plan as much as “I want to increase my bench press by 10 pounds in 10 weeks”.
The second goal establishes a time frame, and a quantifiable goal to help you track progress.
Once you establish a goal, it’s important to write everything down and track every bit of progress. With strength training the key to getting stronger is to make consistent incremental gains.
If your goal is to increase your bench press by ten pounds, it won’t happen overnight. You’ll first need to increase by one pound, then two, etc.
That’s why writing down exercise reps is important. If last week you bench pressed 100 pounds for 8 reps, your short term goal is to bench press 100 pounds for 9 reps.
It will prove challenging to try and remember all your minor goals for 10-15 different exercises.
Form is often preached as a way to prevent injury, and to help isolate muscles for bodybuilding routines. To develop bigger arms, you want your biceps doing all the work instead getting help from your shoulders and back.
One often underestimated benefit of mastering exercise form is efficiency. Wasted movement during an exercise repetition can result in reduced strength.
Perfect form results in greater efficiency, which will help you lift more weight. If your personal fitness goal is to increase strength, mastering proper form should have a high priority.
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Avoid Strength Imbalance
Most people will gravitate to a specific exercise, or muscle group, while strength training. Some people fall in love will the bench press and others can’t get enough squats.
While having a favorite exercise is very normal, you don’t want your love of upper body training to harm your leg work. Skipping leg day is a comical cliché, but it’s also a real thing.
It’s easy to get laser focused on one goal at the expense of others.
This can also happen within the same muscle group. It’s very common for someone to have huge front deltiods, with barely noticeable rear deltoids.
Having passion for a specific goal is what drives you to the finish line. But with weight training, your passion to make progress can work against you sometimes. Over-training increases the risk of injury and can diminish your progress.
If you’re excessively sore, or a ligament is strained, it’s tempting to try and push through the pain or just work around it. You’ll be better served to take a full day, or week, off to fully recover instead risking an injury that can completely derail your goal for several months.
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