A lot of people avoid strength training because they think that they will have to lift weights so heavy they could get injured. First off if you lift properly you won’t get hurt and second…you don’t need to always lift heavy!
A mistake we often see are people lifting weights they cannot properly control. They find ways to cheat the exercises and this causes two problems. It opens them up to injury sooner or later and it takes away the real strength building benefits of lifting weights.
In our personal training instruction we often make exercises hard with light weight. The purpose is to promote ‘feeling’ the muscles work so you can improve your mind/muscle connection. Being able to isolate, feel and control your muscles through their full range of motion is every bit as important to strength as how much you can lift.
Here are some guidelines:
1. Lift slower. Moving swiftly looks fancy but allows momentum to make your weights lighter. Why make your weights feel lighter?! Furthermore, moving fast leads to hard stops and starts which promote strains and sprains. Lifting slow (just try a slow push up) always loads the muscles better through the full range.
2. Don’t stop your sets when you are uncomfortable. Keep performing your reps (in proper form) until your movement naturally stalls. This means you don’t choose the stopping point your muscles do. Real strength stimulus comes when your muscles are taken to their momentary limit.
3. Change the way you perform your exercises. You can sport lift all you want but real change comes from change…THAT is how stress physiology works. You become skilled at simple weightlifting exercises – skill is not the same thing as strength. Don’t always just try to add more weight. Try different performance variables like the three shown in the video to make your reps feel a lot harder and create deeper fatigue.
Be well, be strong,
Andrew and Tierney