No matter what your gender or age, lifting weights is a great way to increase your resting metabolic rate, decrease body fat, improve balance and motor coordination, and enhance joint stability. For a total body workout, we recommend lifting weights for 20 minutes to 30 minutes three days a week.
However, people sometimes make common mistakes that can cause injuries or delay the results they hope to achieve.
1. Holding your breath
Holding your breath as you’re lifting weights can lead to a rapid increase in your blood pressure. In some cases, this can cause a hernia and in more extreme cases, you can even lose consciousness.
The most effective way to breathe as you’re working out is to inhale as you lower the weight and exhale as you lift it. This technique will help you better control your blood pressure.
2. Failing to rest between workouts
Since lifting weights causes muscle soreness, you need to give your muscles time to recover between workouts. Rest at least 48 hours before training that same muscle group again. If you lift weights on Monday morning, work out again on Wednesday morning.
As you lift, you’re causing microscopic tears in your muscles and damaging the tissue. You have to allow those tissues time to recover before exercising them again.
Working the same body parts on consecutive days and over and over can lead to overuse injuries such as tendinitis and tendinosis. Always vary your workout
3. Using improper form
Using improper form and technique during resistance training won’t yield any beneficial results — and may even lead to an injury.
If you’re just getting started, work with a fitness specialist who is familiar with proper weight training techniques and can help you find the right weight for your fitness level.
If you’re more experienced, schedule a session with a fitness specialist so he or she can double-check your form and identify any adjustments you may need to make.
4. Working through injuries
Finally, listen to your body. You will feel sore after lifting weights — don’t ever let that be a reason to stop working out. However, if you’re injured, don’t work through the pain.
While muscle soreness is normal, sharp pain is a sign that you may have overdone it. That’s why we recommend resting 48 hours after lifting.
If your injury is causing you discomfort, take a break from lifting weights. If it’s one or two days, you can chalk it up to muscle soreness. If your injury persists beyond that, seek medical attention.