Getting Started with Strength Training - The Dos and Don'ts

There are various benefits of strength training, and you don’t have to be a professional athlete or bodybuilder to reap these benefits. When done correctly, even a few hours of strength training per week can help increase your strength, tone muscles, lose fat, and improve your bone density. However, doing it incorrectly won’t just rob you of all of these benefits but may even cause harm and lead to injury.

This can lead to strains, sprains, fractures, and other painful injuries that can hamper your strength-training efforts. 

How To Build the Right Technique for Strength Training? 

Many newbie strength trainers tend to mirror the actions of their friends or other people at the gym. This can be very unsafe. For starters, the person you’re copying may not be having the best technique themselves. In addition to that, even while trying to mirror them, you can never know if you’re doing it correctly. You’re only seeing them, but you can’t see yourself, can you? 

In the beginning, it is strongly recommended that you work with an athletic trainer, physical therapist, or other fitness specialists who are experienced in proper weight training techniques. Even if you’ve been strength training for a while and can do it without a trainer now, make sure to schedule sessions every few months to identify any changes you need to make. 

Fitness class at gym

Aside from that, here are some crucial do’s and don’ts of strength training.

Do’s of Strength Training

- First and foremost, learn the proper form. When lifting weight, move through the full range of motions in your joints. A better form will get you better results and reduce your risk of injury. If you’re struggling with your form, reduce the weight or number of repetitions until you can improve the form. Doing 100s of repetitions with the wrong form won’t do you any good. In contrast, a few reps that are done in the proper form will help you make tremendous progress. If you’re not sure whether you’re doing a particular exercise correctly, ask a trainer to assist you. 

- Start with weights you can lift 12 to 15 times comfortably. This is a great place for most people to start as it can help build strength efficiently. As you get stronger, you can add more weights and reps to progress even further. 

- Work on all your major muscles instead of just focusing on your abs or legs. This means to devise a routine that targets the abdomen, chest, back, arms, shoulders, hips, and legs. When it comes to working out, balance is the key to great results. If you only work on one or two major muscle groups, the rest of your body will feel weak and slouchy. 

- Allow your muscles time to relax. Try not to work the same muscles two days in a row. You can work on all the muscle groups 3 to 4 times a week or dedicate specific days for specific groups of muscles. For instance, you can work your arms and shoulder on Mondays and Thursdays and your legs on Tuesdays and Fridays. It is also crucial to take at least one or two rest days per week, irrespective of how you plan your week. This will give your muscles ample amount to rest and restore. 

- It is important to breathe correctly while you workout. Some people feel tempted to hold their breath while lifting weights, but you have to avoid that. Instead, breath in as you lower the weight and breath out as you lift. This will allow your muscles and respiratory system to work in synchronization and help you benefit more from the workout. 

A Person Strength Training with a Barbell

Don’ts of Strength Training

Never skip the warm-up. This is the most common mistake most beginners make with strength training. They believe that they don’t need to warm up and jump straight to lifting 10 kgs of weights. Cold muscles are a lot more prone to injury than warm muscles. Before you lift weights, warm-up for 5 to 10 minutes with brisk walking or any other aerobic activity you like. 

- Don’t rush through the workout. It is understandable if you want to perform as much as you can during your session, and this may tempt you to go through one set to the other hurriedly. However, this isn’t very beneficial and does not progress your strength training journey. Additionally, it leads you to rely on momentum to complete your sets instead of making full use of your muscles. Avoid this by taking things slow and focus on each muscle as you work out. 

- Don’t exert yourself to the point of exhaustion. The general recommendation is to ending your workout just before you completely drain yourself. This is more effective than working out past your capacity. For beginners especially, working out more than they can comfortably haven’t shown any significant benefits. 

- Do not ignore any pain you may be suffering. If any exercise causes you to flinch, stop doing it immediately. Try some other routine for a few days and come back when you feel stronger. Or try it with less weight. 

- Don’t overdo your workout routines. For most people, completing a single set of exercises to the point of fatigue is enough. Additionally, it doesn’t provide much benefit, takes more time, and can lead to injury and muscle cramps. 

 A person doing strength training

Strength training is a continuous process. You learn and grow, and then you learn some more, and the cycle keeps repeating itself. So make sure that you’re taking each step in the right direction by following the above strength training tips.