Plenty of people avoid strength training thinking they will have to brave massive weights and possibly injure. First off you don’t get injured with someone watching out for proper form and second heavy isn’t what you may imagine.
A mistake we see is people lifting weights they cannot properly control finding ways to cheat the exercises and this causes two problems. It opens them up to injury and it reduces the actual benefits of exercise.
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 fast looks fancy but allows momentum to cheat your exercise. Furthermore, moving fast leads to hard stops and starts which cause strains and sprains. Lifting slow (try a slow 6 second push up) always loads the muscles better. Slow reps are literally a burn like no other you will shocked how incredible slowing down feels.
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. True exercise stimulus comes when your muscles are taken to their momentary limit. This takes honesty and practice!
3. Change the way you perform your exercises.
You can “watch me” 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 variables like the three shown in the video and make your reps feel harder and more effective.
Be well, be strong,
Andrew and Tierney