How to lift weights the right way?
“Building strong muscles isn’t just about exercising, you need to do weight training”
You probably must have heard this phrase from someone at least once. Be it your gym trainer, someone you took advice on weight loss, or even some social media post educating people about fitness – everyone talks about weight training. But what most of us end up doing is -- repeating these weight lifting exercises without intent. We learn it from our gym trainers, perform the action in their form aimlessly and then contemplate why we aren’t seeing any results!
The answer lies in your intent!
You don’t have to be a bodybuilder or athlete to reap the benefits of lifting weight. When done correctly, lifting weights can increase your muscle strength and fullness, improve bone density, and help you lose fat. But when done incorrectly, you may end up getting injured too!
So what is the right way to lift weights? Let me explain!
Lift with intent
Does your training have a purpose? To lift with intent means you are doing the action with an intense purpose of meeting or achieving a goal. This does not mean you are trying very hard or putting in a lot of physical effort. It means that you are focused and giving your 100% physical, spiritual, and mental effort from preparing for the lift to re-racking the weight. A workout done with a purpose and intent always reaps positive results!
Before you lift a weight, it's important to get your muscles warm and pliable. Indulge into a range of mobility exercises, and exercises that mimic the movement of the exercises that are coming up in your workouts. This is done to get the blood flowing to your muscles and your joints warmed up. It is also a good idea to gradually rev up your cardiovascular system by raising your body temperature, heart rate, and increasing blood flow to your muscles. It simply prepares you for the intense activity coming up ahead and reduces your risk of injury.
Form over weight!
Don’t strain your neck! Don’t ignore your back! Don’t use your fore-arms! Don’t rock your body to generate momentum! Work on the rhythm of your exercise. Instead of speeding up your workout to complete your rep sets and go home, or adding more weight to see results faster, focus on completing each rep with effectiveness. Make your target muscle do the contraction and expansion on every rep. It is the effectiveness of the workout that reaps results. Pay attention to your form, the intensity of the exercise, and complete each rep with perfection. The volume (weights, sets, reps) of your workouts will not count unless you improve the effectiveness of each rep!
Mind Muscle Connection
Lifting weights is all about mind-muscle connection! Often people just complete a movement by shifting weight from one position to another aimlessly, without involving their muscles. When the truth is, it is the muscle or muscle group involvement that brings a difference. Mind muscle connection is conscious, emphasized, and deliberate focus on the muscle group involved in an exercise. When lifting weight, understand the muscle group it will target, create that awareness in mind to involve those muscles in your exercise, and go about completing it with maximum muscle activation.
Remember to breathe
Don’t get so hung up on the mechanism of the exercise that you forget to breathe! In general, focus on exhaling through your mouth as you lift weight and inhale deeply through your gut before the start of the rep. While overly forceful breathing can leave you feeling lightheaded, holding your breath can bring about a sharp rise in your blood pressure levels and create a lack of air making you faint. Breathe comfortably and correctly to achieve the true results of your workout.
Remind yourself on which muscle you are working and focus on that muscle when lifting weight. It is easy to do abdominal crunches without really working on your abs. It’s the focus and intent on the muscle that makes a difference!
Creating a mind-muscle connection and working on your form is an effective way to lift weights and reap its results! It can make your workout count!
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