EXERCISING WITH WEIGHTS: THE BASICS
- Always use proper lifting technique when moving exercise equipment around.
- Do wear shoes with good traction.
- Do make sure the equipment you use is in good condition.
- Don’t continue lifting if you feel pain.
- Don’t step over exercise equipment always walk around.
BREATHING WHILST EXERCISING
Breathe out as you lift a weight and breathe in as you lower it back down.
PROPER EXERCISE FORM
Whilst almost any form of exercise will stimulate strength and muscle development to some degree, one of the easiest ways to become injured is not to follow proper exercise form. Follow the exercise descriptions I describe and think about the following when completing the exercise.
- Don’t try to lift more than you are capable of. The tendency is for beginners to use too much weight which typically results in poor form (i.e. doing the exercise incorrectly), which increases the risk of injury. Bouncing is a way of lifting too much weight by recruiting other muscles to help raise the weight, in the bicep curl exercise the back muscles are recruited.
- Work each target muscle (the bicep in a bicep curl exercise) through its natural range of motion to reduce risk of injury. Range of motion refers to the distance and direction a joint can move between the flexed (bent) and extended (straightened) positions. You should try to perform each exercise from complete extension to complete contraction. Concentrate on the return of the weight to the starting position (lower the weight at the same pace you lifted it, if not slower). Keep the weight under complete control when lowering. Never let it fall to it’s starting position My website gives many further examples of other exercises using these and other pieces of exercise equipment.
HOW TO STAND WHILST EXERCISING
Your head should be looking straight ahead, your shoulders back and chest out these will help prevent the rounding of your back. Keep your knees slightly bent and grip your tummy muscles (think of pulling your tummy button in towards your spine) this helps to keep your lower back flat not arched.
Your feet should be hip width apart toes pointing forwards with your body-weight evenly distributed across your foot as you start a lifting exercise.