Want to know HOW to maximize the results you achieve while strength training?
OK, so maybe these aren’t necessarily “top secret” tips I’m releasing from deep down in the Personal Trainer’s Vault…But they are Florida Fitness Coaches’ TOP secrets for success with lifting. 🙂
These two tips WILL noticeably improve the results you see from strength training if you apply them correctly!
#1: Know WHERE you should feel the exercise.
This sounds simple, but many people who “self-train”, take group classes, or even work with a trainer don’t actually know exactly which muscles they SHOULD be engaging while executing specific lifts. Even more important is where in your body you should NOT be feeling an exercise, or you could be setting yourself up for injury. When working with a trainer, communication is KEY! Don’t be afraid to ask questions – That’s what we are here for! There is a LOT to learn! 🙂
Let’s look at a basic back exercise like the “3 Point Dumbbell Row”…(pic below)
Where SHOULD you feel a 3 Point Row?
The main muscles targeted during a row are the upper back muscles (including the lats, rhomboids, and trapezoids). If you are NOT feeling these muscles as the primary movers for this exercise, it most likely means that you are compensating and using undesired muscles instead.
Where should you NOT feel a 3 Point Row?
It’s important that during a row you are NOT feeling any pain or pinching in your low back (this is a red flag for improper form). Another common mistake made during a row is over-use of the bicep and shoulder muscles, when the back should be pulling the brunt of the weight.
Once you fully understand WHERE you should feel a specific exercise it allows you to focus your attention on engaging the desired muscle group as you lift, both preventing injury and allowing for faster progression.
Which coincidentally 😉 leads me to our next tip…
#2: Know how to INCREASE your weights properly
Once you’ve mastered form, it’s time to turn your focus to challenging yourself appropriately.**This is truly where the “magic” of TONING and muscle growth happens.**
Here’s how we like to explain things in our club…
If you are working on a particular exercise for 10 repetitions, once you complete your set ask yourself this question: “Could I easily have kept going WITHOUT losing form?”
If you could have easily completed three, five, or more repetitions with the current weight you are lifting, it’s time to lift HEAVIER! 🙂
If you could have MAYBE squeezed out just one more repetition (or unsure if you could have kept your form) then the weight you are lifting is just right! You always have the option to slow down your tempo a bit to experiment with whether or not you could handle more resistance before you make the commitment to jump up.
The key here is that to increase muscle growth for strength, toning, or size (all goals of strength training), you will see FASTER results if you challenge yourself to lift weights that fully fatigue your muscles during your set. (**Of course this can only be applied when you are confident and pain-free during the motion.**)
I hope these tips help you to continue to improve with YOUR strength training routine! Remember, please NEVER be afraid to ask questions!
Mara Gamble (owner)