Last Monday was a reminder to lift weights, not just weights but heavy weights. No more messing around with dumbbells that are lighter than everyday items but weight that can re-sculpt and model your body into a strong, powerful person; inside and out.
However, I know in the back of your mind you were saying "But, I don't want to hurt myself." and this is a valid point. Lifting heavier does require more concentration, focus and skill BUT you can learn that just as you have learnt all the other things in life you know how to do well. Our lives are in constant change as well as our bodies, so learning technique and form for weight lifting can be really important.
The part that you haven't maybe considered about not lifting weights in fear of getting hurt is you are hurting yourself just as much by not lifting weights. Resistance training where your muscles must overcome a resisted force creates micro-tears in your muscles that triggers the muscle to then rebuild and repair stronger and better in case the load on them the next time is the same or larger.
This is important to understand because this is why your muscles require rest. Did you know when you finish a workout you are actually at your weakest point? Your strength is built during your recovery phase when you rest them. They require at least 48 hours to recover but that is also based on how heavy and intense you lifted previously and what your goals are. The general exerciser is safe to lift every second day in a full body protocol and if your life is going to the gym then split your body parts up to ensure you can lift every day.
It would look like this:
Mon: Back, Biceps Tue: Legs Wed: Chest,Triceps Thursday: Shoulders, Abs Friday: Back, Biceps Sat: Legs Sunday: Chest, Triceps
Otherwise you could do this:
Mon: weights Tue: cardio Wed: weigths Thur: cardio,yoga Fri: weights Sat: cardio Sun: rest
There are so many ways to play with programming for your weeks but it is important to try and follow a certain protocol for 4-6 weeks to see the benefits of it, your progress within it and then switch the protocol just as your body adapts to it.
Easier cardio based workouts can be done anytime, but generally I like to keep my cardio sessions focused if possible but there are some days after lifting weights I am sore, feel heavy and it seems impossible to do focused cardio other than to just keep moving! As long as you do keep moving it helps with the soreness. Sitting for prolonged periods of time = ouch!
Now how not to hurt yourself while lifting heavier weights? Other than hiring someone to in person show you there are tools that you can use to help you always be safe.
#1 More Than Just One Muscle
When you lift weights especially free weights (dumbbells) the thinking is you are just training let's say shoulders then those are what you focus on. Well yes and no. Your shoulders should be the PRIMARY (Main) mover of the dumbbells and exercise but are they just swaying in the wind out there by themselves or are there other muscles involved? Lots! What you need to use as well is all the other muscles in your body to STABILIZE and help your shoulders do what they are best at. So squeeze your abs, legs, shoulder blades etc to help keep stable. I always tell clients it is easier to move heavy weights hanging off of a metal rod than a wet noodle. No noodles! Strong steel rod!
#2 I saw so and so doing it...
Where to go with this. Do not watch others and copy unless you understand what and why they are doing it (which most don't know themselves) it might look cool right until you tear your shoulder out!
#3 Start light at first
Yes, I know I contradicted everything I said before about heavy weights but my point is; yes, start at the light end for a few reps to feel the exercise and see if you are doing it properly. That means looking in the mirror (that is why they are there!) and watching your body move, not critiquing it and cutting it down. Watch what your body is doing and focus on the muscle you are using then bump up the weight.
#4 Research, Read, Repeat
Find out what you need to do to get strong, what exercises work and if someone does look a little like you want to ask what they do! Why take the long road to fitness when you can research a bit and see what works better than other things. If the girl in the gym lifting 20 lb dumbbells for shoulder press looks like you would like to ask....then read on your own to make sure it is sound advice. Just don't copy and start where she is at, it wasn't an overnight success story I can promise.
#5 Never lock a joint
I watch some lift and their joints are nearly popping out of place. Keep joints soft but stable! When you use only the joint for the workout guess what takes the hammering? Joints. If the joints are soft but stable guess what does the work? Muscle!!
Keep it simple silly....why make things so complicated you get frustrated and quit. Stick to the basics, learn them well and do them well. Then add in all the fancy stuff if you are bored. Simple=less chance of getting hurt.
#7 No Pain No Gain
Um no. Sore is great, pain not great! If you feel sharp pain; stop! I know with my own body that bicep curls inflame my tendinitis in my elbow so it is done very carefully or not at all. Not worth the benefit verses the risk. The idea is to strengthen not hurt. If you ever feel really odd pain either re-focus and see if it still hurts or avoid that exercise until you strengthen the muscles surrounding it that aren't working properly. Leg shaking, burning, jello legs, shaky arms are all GOOD things. Do not stop if you feel any of that!
I hope this helps a bit, it takes more than one session for me to train someone to have good form but once they get it it is ingrained into their bodies permanently. Your body will automatically go into the positions you train it to!
Good luck (you know when hard work and preparation meet) and enjoy the iron!
I Live Life Now,