Tips for Strength Training and Proper Form
Strength training via free weights and weight machines can be very beneficial for your body. If you are looking to increase strength or perhaps get a little more toned, lifting weights or doing some sort of strength training is a great way to do so. But before you hit up the gym and get on a machine or grab some free weights, check out these tips so that you are getting the most out of your workout! We also want to help prevent injuries or unnecessary strain to your back, knees or shoulders. Let?s do it!
1. Biceps curls.
When you are doing bicep curls, avoid swinging the weight upward. This can put strain on your back and won?t allow the proper muscles to engage. Sometimes sitting down can help you have proper form, but also consider the amount of weight you are using.
When we are pressed for time, we tend to go for the heavier weights to feel like we are getting in a really hard work out, but that might be doing more harm than good. Proper form is really important. Try grabbing a smaller weight, and pay attention to your form and if your back tends to sway.
2. Tricep curls.
A great way to work those triceps is by using a free weight and a bench. What we often see people doing is swinging the weight. Proper form here is to keep your shoulders high, back straight, elbow in and up, and push back in a controlled movement.
It?s all about that bass! ?unless you?re straining your knees or back. When doing a squat (weighted or not), remember to sit straight down keeping your back straight and your abs engaged. Avoid leaning back (this will strain your knees) or too far forward (this will strain your back). Make sure knees are above the ankles, weight over the heels, and just come straight down like you?re about to sit on an invisible bench.
4. Over-head press.
Remember to keep your hands shoulder-width apart and again, engage the abs so you are not swaying. If you have a shoulder injury, try a side-raise workout instead. A lot of people don?t realize that you can actually work the shoulder muscles and not have to do an over-head press. Try a bent-arm lateral raise as shown in this picture.
Ab machines can be a little intimidating. In fact, don?t be afraid to skip the ab machine and grab a yoga matt and do some crunches, planks or other workouts instead. But if you feel comfortable using an ab machine, just make sure you adjust the height of your machine and that you are not straining your back or neck. Again, check the amount of weight you are using. Quality over quantity!
6. Adjusting your machine.
As mentioned with the ab machine, always make sure that you are adjusting your weight machine to your height and/or build.
7. Engaging the correct muscles.
If you are about to use a machine that you have never been on before, take a look at the directions on the machine, most gym equipment will have them. Refer to this to see if you are using the machine properly and working the muscles the machine is intended for.
8. Lower legs.
Remember that your feet are going to do most of the movement when it comes to calf and lower leg exercises. Most of the time when you are working the calf, the rest of the leg is straight. Also, your knees should not be feeling strained during a calf workout.
- Upper legs.
When using an upper leg machine like a leg press, pay attention to where you place your feet. You will want to place them higher, you don?t have to start out too deep into a leg press with your knees all the way to your chest. Instead, adjust the machine for your height, place your feet towards the top of the platform and engage that upper leg. If your knees are hurting or feeling strained, this might be the reason. The higher your feet are, the less of a strain on the knees.