Strength training popularity is on the rise. People now understand the amazing health benefits of lifting weights. It is a fun and efficient way to build a strong body and to give you confidence in all areas of your life.
However, completely altering your fitness routine can seem daunting and it’s all too easy to stick with what you know. If you don’t make the jump and change your practice, you will not be able to reap the amazing benefits of weight training you truly deserve.
In this article, you will find important strength training notes and advice. It is imperative to know exactly what you are doing before heading over to the dumbbells. You should also understand why you are performing the exercises and which muscles you are hitting so that you can really get a mind-to-muscle connection.
Types of strength training
It is firstly essential to know the different types of strength training that there is. You should try and vary your routines up with the use of different equipment and different types of training. This increases your strength, endurance and muscle size, and keeps your workouts varied.
Dumbbells are perfect for strength training first-timers. Most gyms have a set of dumbbells and we all know what they look like and how they work. They are much less intimidating than a barbell, the weight of a barbell alone is around 40-50lb and this can be too heavy for a beginner. So, start off with the dumbbells.
Dumbbells usually go up in 5lb’s, meaning that you can add a small amount of weight to a movement. You want to try and increase the weight every time you get comfortable lifting a previous weight to ensure constant growth.
The use of dumbbells also requires whole body muscle stabilization for many moves, meaning you work more muscles than you think and it points out any muscle imbalances.
For body weight training you need minimal equipment and it can be performed anywhere. You just need to know the form of an exercise and then you can perform it anytime, with just your bodyweight.
Press-ups, push-ups, squats, lunges and pull-ups can all be performed with just your body weight. For beginners, it’s a great way to perfect the form of an exercise before moving on to do it with added weight. There are exercise bands you can also purchase to step it up a level and make body weight training a little harder.
Barbells are great for when you begin to progress and start to feel more confident. You can add small weighted plates onto the barbell to steadily increase the weight each week. They are incredibly stable and require core strength for many exercises, great for the abs.
It’s much easier to go heavier with a barbell for lower body movements like squats, lunges and deadlifts because you can rack it, add the weight, get in position and then lift.
Which is the best?
The best way of strength training completely depends on your circumstances. Barbells are great for quick muscle growth, but if you’re not prepared to go to the gym 3-5 times a week, body weight training would be better for you as you can do it anywhere.
You should vary your workouts to include all of the training techniques above. Nothing can compete with a heavy barbell squat, but dumbbells are perfect for getting that bicep-curl mind-to-muscle connection, then a classic body weight pull-up cannot be matched for effectiveness.
You should never walk into the gym not knowing what you’re going to be doing. When you don’t have a plan you will find yourself just aimlessly wandering from machine to machine with no focus.
On your way to the gym, you should already know what muscle group you are going to target. Then you should picture in your head the moves you are going to be performing. This way, you will walk in with confidence, self-assurance and you are more likely to have an efficient workout.
You should vary your reps performed in different types of exercises. Some of your training should be as heavy as possible and some should be lower weight but higher reps. Choosing a weight that you can only perform 1-5 reps with will build up dense muscle and intense strength. Weights that you can perform 6-12 reps with build an equal amount of muscular strength and muscular endurance. If you can do more than 12 reps with the weight, then you building muscular endurance and size.
You should ensure you efficiently warm up to avoid injury. Weightlifting injuries can be dangerous and if you do not perform lifts with correct form or warm up properly, you could be left with torn ligaments, sprained muscles and even broken bones. ACL reconstruction and other surgeries can be required to fix these injuries.
So, it is really important to warm up. A good way to readily prepare the muscle you are about to be using is to begin each exercise with very low weight and lots of reps, this will warm up the muscle, tell the body what area you are going to be focusing on and get it ready for action.
So, now you know the benefits, you know what to do and you know why you are going to be doing them, you can get started. Whether you are looking to lose weight, build muscle or just look and feel better, strength training is the perfect way to achieve your goals.