Start off Wisely

Start off Wisely

Weight-training equipment is designed to be safe and easy to use, but it's important to operate it properly. If you're a newcomer, schedule a few sessions with a personal trainer or bodybuilding expert who can help you learn the proper exercises to handle those bodybuilding equipment and start you out at a safe but challenging level. Even seasoned bodybuilders should learn the proper technique before trying a new piece of weight training equipment.

For best results and safety, every workout should be build around these basic principles:

  • Learn the proper technique and use it consistently. This is the golden rule of weight training. Whatever your goals or your program, you need to do the workout properly, or you won't get results and you'll be at greater risk of injury.

  • Work all your major muscle groups at least twice a week, include at least one exercise for the upper back, shoulders, chest, lower back, abdominals, front of arms (biceps), back of arms (triceps), buttocks, front of thighs (quad triceps), back of thighs (hamstring) and lower legs.

  • Rest each muscle group at least 48 hours between workouts. Muscles need time to repair and rebuild after a workout - that's what makes them stronger. If you want to work out every day, split your training so you work some muscle groups on one day and others the next.

  • Work large muscle groups, such as the legs, chest and back, then the small ones, such as shoulders and arms.

  • Rest between sets to give your muscles a chance to recover. Once you've hit your stride, 30 seconds to 2 minutes of rest should be sufficient. Beginners may need to rest longer.

  • Learn the difference between "good pain" and "bad pain". When you begin, it's natural to feel some muscle soreness one or two days later. A sharper pain is cause for concern, especially if it's associated with a specific muscle, position or exercise.

  • Keep breathing. Holding your breath raises blood pressure, possible to dangerous levels. Keep a slow, steady rhythm and exhale as you life, inhale as you lower the weight.

  • Add a little weight when you get to the point (where) you can do 15 reps easily and with good form. If it's a struggle, or you have to break form to do the move, reduce the weight until you feel in control.

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