Whatever your sport, you need to be in tip-top shape to give it your all.
The human body is an amazing machine. It has the ability to adapt to a wide range of circumstances. So, when it comes to optimising your workouts, it’s important to be aware of some basic strength-training principles.
Weight training is the most effective way to improve your body shape and physical appearance. Used in conjunction with cardio workouts and a sensible diet, it enables you to build muscle, raise your metabolic rate, improve bone density and increase strength and muscular endurance.
It may look easy, but weight training requires proper technique, a tailored programme and the right equipment. To build your muscles, you need to expose them to more resistance than they are used to. Here’s how to weight-train for strength:
1. Incrementally increase weights you lift
Your body will constantly adapt to the workload, so incrementally increasing the weights you lift will keep you working to your limit. You’ll know if you’ve got it right when you can finish your last training repetition with difficulty, whilst still retaining good form. If you want to increase strength, train with heavier weights closer to your maximum limit. To lose weight, target different muscle groups with a variety of repetition set ranges.
2. Regularly increase intensity
To keep pushing yourself further, you must regularly increase the intensity of your workouts. This is not only about increasing the weights you lift. You should also change the number of training repetitions sets.
3. Introduce variety
Incorporating new exercises and changing the type of resistance is also good. Try to make these changes on a regular basis, either weekly or monthly. Make sure you are working towards a clear goal.
4. Get rest
When you work out regularly, it’s essential to give your muscles time to recover. It is during these rest periods when your muscles grow and change. That’s why you should never work the same muscle groups on consecutive days.
5. Have a solid warm-up routine
It is also important to warm up properly to prepare the body for weight training. An effective warm-up is crucial to making noticeably performance improvements while avoiding the risk of injury.
Movement preparation helps repair your body prior to an activity through an active series of warm-up exercises. These take the place of traditional stretching and helps engage your muscles for the strenuous activity by increasing your core temperature.
Movement preparation also helps to lengthen, strengthen, stabilise and balance your muscles, while improving flexibility, mobility and stability gains. Hence, it does not necessarily mean you should always stretch before an intensive workout. Static stretching (the traditional stretch-and-hold) forces the muscles to release and relax, effectively shutting off the muscles you need the most and heightening the physical demands on your body.
Prep all your muscles and limbs with this exercise:
5. Stretch after your workout
It is best to use static stretching after a workout or at the end of the day to elongate muscle and connective tissue. Stretching is also effective for recovery, improving your fascia (the band of elastic tissue that envelops the body beneath the skin), which in turn improves your flexibility and balance.
Further, conduct stretching regularly on its own as it warms up your muscles, improving elasticity, agility and flexibility, and allowing for greater range of motion. Stretching should be a vital component of any workout routine. Try to stretch regularly (at least three times a week).
Try this stretching exercise:
What’s your weight-lifting routine? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page!