Weight training is an essential part of weight management and health and fitness maintenance. It helps to increase our muscle mass and our metabolism, it also encourages stronger bone density and can strengthen joints too. However, if not done correctly, weight lifting can cause a whole host of problems, leading to injury and extended pain. Where possible, try to train with a professional when you are learning how to weight train.
Before a workout, it is great to warm up and stretch. However, ensure your stretches are dynamic before weight training. Static stretches are great after a workout, but these can create instability in the joint, which isn't ideal before lifting. Moving squats, walking lunges and other low impact exercises are the perfect warm up.
Rest is probably the most important aspect to adhere to. If we lift and lift without resting our muscles, they will not recover after a workout and we will cause ourselves injury. When we build muscle, our muscles tear, grow and recover. The tearing is very tiny, but without the rest, we're causing long-term damage.
In addition to resting our muscles, we need to ensure that we are getting enough shut eye too. Aim for 7-8 hours each night where possible, to ensure maximum output and maximum results.
Although this sounds contradictory to the previous point, staying active on your rest days is crucial. Keep your rest day workouts low intensity, and incorporate walking, swimming or yoga into your day. Sitting still can make DOMs so much worse, so keep active and stretch to prevent soreness.
BIG TO SMALL
When exercising , try to work out the big muscles before the small. Begin with the squats, back, chest muscles, and work down to glutes, shoulders, abs and biceps. By working larger muscles first, our body gets warmed up throughout the workout, and we also have more energy for those larger muscles too. Also, try to exercise your body evenly. For example, if you are looking to increase upper body strength and muscle tone, you still need to work out that lower back, hip abductors and thighs; there are no short cuts.
Like anything, progress takes patience and hard work. You need to build up gradually, with both intensity and weights. Increase the kilograms gradually over the weeks to give you maximum results with minimum injury risk.