Training Tips for Effectiveness and Safety
Before you lift that first weight, you need to review basic guidelines and techniques to keep your training safe and effective. Follow these basic tips and soon you'll be looking and feeling great.
Always warm up for five to eight minutes before you start any strength or toning exercises. Any rhythmic activity that uses the large muscle groups of the hips and legs — like walking, marching or jogging in place, jumping rope, or riding an exercise bicycle — provides an effective warm up. The warm up increases blood circulation to the muscles, stimulates smooth movement in the joints, and prepares the body and mind for physical effort.
Always remember to breathe. Holding your breath can elevate blood pressure. If you find yourself holding your breath or breathing in short spurts, check your breathing periodically during the workout and cool down.
With every exercise, begin with good posture. This position supports the natural curves of your spine and can be identified by imagining a plumb line through your body, with your head above your shoulders, shoulders above hips, hips over knees, knees over ankles, and feet pointing forward. Tighten your abdominals to provide support to your lower back. Since physical tension can inhibit smooth, efficient movement, consciously release excess tension throughout your body, especially in your shoulders.
When you use any handheld equipment, keep a solid yet relaxed grip. Avoid squeezing your weights because it can elevate blood pressure. Tubing generally comes with handles and should also be held with a relaxed grip. For bands, you can secure the end between your thumb and index finger and make a fist. To increase hand comfort, wear padded weight training gloves.
Use slow, controlled, rhythmic movements. Proceed through a full range of motion with each rep and hold the exercise position for a moment at the peak muscular contraction to ensure that you are fully stimulating the targeted muscle fibers. Avoid swinging weights or using momentum. Feel the exercise in your working muscles. Be careful not to strain your joints.
Choose at least one exercise for each muscle group. Use a variety of resistance techniques — weights, bands, tubing, body weight — to challenge your muscles in different ways for better results.
In general, training your largest muscle groups before smaller ones will lead to optimal results. For example, muscles can be trained in the following order:
Hips and legs
Chest and back
Arms and shoulders
Abdominals and back
Core training comes last because core stabilizers are necessary to stabilize your body during the workout, so you don't want to exhaust them early in the workout.
Did your seamstress hit a snag in your alterations? Can't make your seating arrangement work? Keep your cool by breathing deeply. It's tempting during a tough workout or a stressful situation to take short, shallow breaths, but catch yourself! Good breathing techniques are handy for more than just your training sessions.
The cool down can consist of stretches for the targeted muscle performed at the end of each set or a series of stretches performed at the conclusion of your workout. Either method prevents muscle soreness and enhances conditioning benefits.
Maintain good posture
Avoid excessive gripping
Use proper form
The most important reason for using correct training techniques is injury prevention. Keep these points in mind every time that you train and you'll be radiant and healthy for your wedding date.