While exercising is great for your health—and weight lifting in particular offers a number of benefits, including bone loss prevention, heart disease recovery, boosting metabolism and more—let’s be real; physical results are the endgame. Muscle tone, healthy weight and increased strength are all top perks of routine exercise. Not to mention that seeing results can be a powerful motivator to keep up all that work you’re putting in at the gym.
But what happens when those results start to tinker off? Does that mean strength training isn’t as effective anymore? Is there something that you’re missing?
Before you throw in the towel on strength training, Kristie Delgado, MS, GMC's fitness specialist, highlights a few of the mistakes you may be overlooking.
We’ve all been guilty of these lapses in lifting:
- Letting momentum drive your workout. If you power through repetitions at a rapid clip, chances are that you're using momentum rather than controlled muscle movement to do those reps. To get the most out of each rep, take two to three seconds to lift the weight and three to four seconds to return to the starting position.
- Not moving through a complete range of motion. You're shortchanging yourself if you're also rushing through reps without carefully moving from your starting position to a full extension, no matter what the exercise. If you're unable to do this, chances are you're lifting too heavy a weight for your current ability.
- Not lifting enough weight. Some women still incorrectly believe that they'll develop manly muscle mass if they lift more than a few pounds. But female hormones typically won't allow that to happen. To get the benefits of strength training, you have to challenge yourself, and that means lifting the most weight you can while still maintaining proper form.
- Changing your routine too often. This can actually set you back because you're not giving muscles time to react. Resist jumping to different exercises because you think you're not seeing results fast enough. Progress is slow and steady. Expect it to take from one to three months to see results, according to the American Council on Exercise.
- Not changing your routine often enough. On the flip side, not updating your routine enough can keep you from progressing. You might simply need to increase the weight you're lifting, but it also could be time to move to more complex exercises or switch from free weights to machines.
Strengthening your health.
The truth is there is no one size fits all when it comes to exercise. While strength training is worth trying, due to the fact that it offers so many benefits, it’s important for find the right exercise for you and your unique health needs. A great way to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your exercise routine, while limiting any injuries or pain, is to have a comprehensive fitness assessment and/or personal training. The experts at GMC’s Fitness & Performance Center are dedicated to helping you find the best exercise program for you to ensure lasting health.