Weightlifting and strength training can have a lot of different benefits, including stronger muscles, improved fitness and better athletic performance. Walking into a weight gym unprepared, however, can be daunting to say the least. If you’re just starting out in the weightlifting world, consider these five tips to get the most out of your workouts and prevent injury.
1. Drink more water
While most weightlifters swear by protein supplements to build muscles, water can actually have a more significant impact on muscle development. Water helps transport nutrients to tissues, allowing them to grow stronger and perform better. It also speeds up protein synthesis, improving muscle mass and control. Lastly, water helps lubricate your joints which helps prevent overuse injury.
2. Switch up your workouts within the week
When first starting out, it’s important to stick to the basics so you can learn proper lifting forms and avoid injury. Once you become more accustomed to the motions, however, try to differentiate your workouts most days of the week, and continue the pattern each week. It’s important to change the exercises you do to not only avoid unbalanced muscle mass, but also to improve your strength. Keeping your body on its toes will lead to the most tissue break down and ultimately stronger muscles.
3. Prep your muscles
One of the most important things you can do for your body is to warm-up properly. You can easily damage your muscles without enough preparation. Try using a foam roller to loosen tight muscles followed by a dynamic warm-up, which includes jogging, stretching and calisthenics. This will help prevent tissue damage by easing your muscles into a workout and improving blood flow.
4. Work on a monthly schedule
Make yourself a monthly workout schedule. Not only will this hold you responsible to get to the gym, but it will also allow you to plan out the most effective strategies to build muscle. Break each month into weekly schedules. The first two weeks should contain three sets of each exercise, using progressively heavier weights or more reps. The third week should be peak week, including four sets and the heaviest reps. Then, take the fourth week to recover, use lighter weights, and prep for the next cycle. Every day, you should also be giving your muscles some relief between sets with bodyweight calisthenics or stretching.
5. Sleep more
Your muscles and tendons are rebuilt while you sleep, so it’s crucial to get rest in order to become a more successful weightlifter. The average adult athlete should be getting between 8-10 hours each night so that their tissues can be repaired and enhanced. If you’re sore, be sure to sleep on supportive pillows to relieve back and neck pain and wake up stronger than the day before.
With these tips in mind, consider switching up your workout plans to incorporate weightlifting and round out your fitness.
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