Proper Strength Training Technique


What is the proper lifting technique for lifting weights? To get the most effective workout and prevent strain and injury, use these guidelines. 

Weight Lifting Form and Technique
With each lift, you need to know the correct form. Too often you are tempted to lift more weight than you can do with proper form. You see the grey-haired guy on the next weight bench lifting a heavier weight and you aren't going to let him be doing more than you. Or, you are trying to impress your workout buddy with how much you can lift.

You end up using momentum to lift the weight rather than smoothly contracting the targeted muscles. It's also a mistake to lift at a fast speed. That results in using momentum and doing things such as arching your back or bending backward in a shoulder press, or extending your hip or back to start a bicep curl.

Exercise Through Your Full Range of Motion for Each Lift
When you take a muscle through its full range of motion loaded with a weight you get the most benefit for building muscle strength and joint flexibility. Each lift has a target muscle or muscle group, the prime-mover or agonist muscles. When you are doing a biceps curl, you are targeting the biceps to develop your gun show. You want to do each lift through the full range of motion for that muscle, from full extended to fully contracted on the positive phase of the lift. Then again, you want to go through the full range of motion on the negative phase  back to the fully extended position. This stretches the antagonist muscles for the lift, such as the triceps in the biceps curl.

Exercise Selection - Balance Your Muscle Groups
All of your major muscle groups need to be worked during your strength training program. You don't want to neglect your legs and only work your upper body. You don't want to overdevelop your hamstrings and neglect the quads, leading to imbalance in your legs. You need to know the different major muscle groups and ensure your program is targeting each one. It's acceptable to break up your workouts by body area, doing an upper body workout one day and a lower body on another day, but you need to make sure you actually do both.

This can be a mistake you make if you only enjoy one type of lift. Do your research and make sure you are also working out the anatagonist muscle groups so your body will stay in balance and you will have less risk of injury.