Today, we’re going to go through some common weightlifting do’s and don’ts provided by our Omaha Gym (OBGYM) Members. These straightforward best practices will help you get the most out of your workouts to gain strength while staying healthy and safe.
Weightlifting is extremely safe, very rewarding sport that offers several benefits physically, mentally and spiritually. When you know what you’re doing and why you’ll see results quicker while reducing the opportunity for injury. The problem is, most people don’t understand how to properly lift weights and often find themselves attempting to perform an exercise or routine incorrectly, leading to severe industry.
DO Compound Lifts
A compound exercise involves multiple joints, while an isolation exercise involves a single joint. A general rule of thumb for weightlifting is the more muscles and joints that a movement uses, the better it is. Compound lifts are how you develop total-body strength, and how you train different muscle groups to work with each other. This is why lifting weights is superior to cable machines, and why the squat or bench press is superior to the calf raise or triceps extension.
DON’T Tire Yourself out with Isolation Exercises
In your average commercial Gym in Omaha, you’ll see most lifters – especially men – start their workout with dumbbell curls and sit ups. Isolation exercises come first, and if they’re included at all, compound lifts come at the end. But, if you know that compound exercises are the most beneficial and most effective way to lift weights, why would it make sense to include them last in your workout? It doesn’t.
Omaha Barbell Gym Tip: Start with your toughest exercises and work down from there.
DO Train Consistently
As the #1 Gym in Omaha, we know strength training isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon! Results don’t come immediately, they come after weeks of consistent work. You don’t have to get into the gym six times a week; start by picking three days per week and sticking to that. Beginners can even get away with two days per week, especially if you’re working around an injury.
DON’T Play “Catch up” If You Miss a Workout
One of the worst and riskiest things you can do is a “catch up” workout, where you try and make up for lost time with an especially intense workout after missing a week or two at the gym. Again, weightlifting is a marathon. If you miss workouts, come in and pick up a couple steps back from where you left off. Give your body time to adapt – you have your whole life to get stronger.
DO Continually Practice Good Form
Even some of the advanced lifters at our Omaha gym are constantly working on our form. The stronger you get, the more important form becomes. Good form is how you lift heavier weight, prevent injury, and work the right muscles. Proper form is how you improve flexibility and athleticism. Always make sure you’re performing each lift through the full range of motion, and don’t be afraid to ask someone to help you identify problems or sticking points.
DON’T Cheat More Weight or Reps Than You Can Handle
Good form is more important than lifting heavy weights. Common weightlifting “cheats” you’ll see include:
- Stopping above parallel on the squat
- Bouncing weight off the chest or not touching the chest at all on the bench press
- Stopping above parallel on the dips
- Over-arching your back on the deadlift
- Kicking your legs while doing chin ups
This last don’t is also why we advise against lifting to failure, which is when you don’t stop a set until you fail to complete a rep. This type of training forces you to embrace bad form on those reps where you fail, and it’s just not safe for most beginning and intermediate lifters. When you fail to complete a lift properly, you’re only cheating yourself. Plus, improper form is how you build muscle imbalances that lead to injury.
Hopefully you can see that we really know our stuff here at Omaha Barbell. But, don’t let our expertise fool you – we’re all extremely laid-back and always happy to see a newbie begin his or her journey towards healthy living and increased strength.
If you’d like to see for yourself what many classify as the Best Gym in Omaha (OBGYM) is about, you can either call us at (402) 594-4485 or just swing by on your way home from work. We’d be happy to show you around and answer any questions you may have.
Thanks for reading and let us know your thoughts in the comments – are there any other weightlifting Do’s or Don’ts that we missed?