Adding some dumbbells to your squats or shoulder press may look like a breeze, but to get the most out of weightlifting, you need the proper technique.
There are a few common mistakes that many of us make”and each has a simple fix that’s easy to implement if you know what to recognize.
Check out these top tips to see if you can improve your weight room workout.
And remember: always consult with your physician before beginning any new exercise regimen.
Watch Your Back
As women, we have the advantage of flexibility: we’re able to bend naturally in ways that men can only dream of. While this serves us well on the dance floor and in ballet class, in the weight room, it’s less of an asset.
When you’re lifting weights above your head (think shoulder presses, lateral raises, or lying chest presses), you place a greater amount of stress and strain on the back vertebrae. If these vertebrae are not in proper alignment (imagine that you’re sticking out your bum slightly), you’re at risk of big-time back pain.
Ideally you should be pressing your back as flat into the back of the bench as possible, or if you are in a standing position, squeeze those tummy muscles tight. This will also give you the added benefit of a flat, toned stomach!
Know Your Knees
Whenever your knees are bent, they should always hover directly in line with your toes. This is important when doing exercises such as lunges, squats and step-ups (all which help you get a firmer, Beyoncé©-style backside). If your knees begin to move inward or outward while you are performing these exercises, then you’re going to strain the tendons and ligaments surrounding the knee cap and will risk knee pain.
Blame it on Michelle Obama. Tight, toned arms are one of most desirable body parts”and with weight training, achieving them is most definitely possible.
However, one jiggle-busting exercise that can become problematic is the overhead shoulder press. Since women are typically weaker in the shoulder muscles, this movement creates a bit more strain on the muscles, and if you use a weight that’s too heavy, it’s very easy to fall into improper form.
The main thing to watch is that you don’t hyper-extend your elbows when they move into the fully stretched position and that you keep both shoulders level. If either of these becomes an issue during the exercise, you should immediately stop and lighten the load while rechecking your form.
Don’t Forget To Breathe!
Many of us tend to hold our breath as soon as we pick up a weight, but this can hinder optimal lifting. Breathe out whenever you contract your muscles against the weight, and in when you’re returning to the starting position of the exercise. This is one of the weight lifting techniques you really want to be sure you get right, because if you don’t, it will definitely compromise the results you get from your workout.