I used to be a huge fan of little house on the prairie back in the day (ugh, I think I just aged myself!) If you have ever seen that show you realize how much physical labor was required back in the 1800s just to live. Let’s face it, unless you own a farm or build houses for a living, you need exercise! Our bodies are made to move, but with the advances in transportation and computer based jobs that cause us to sit for hours everyday they are not moving as much as required to keep us healthy. This is the reason fitness facilities exist, they didn’t need gyms back in those times because their lifestyle was very active. So if you are looking to increase your quality of life and keep your body in top shape for as long as possible, you must incorporate exercise somewhere somehow. Find something you enjoy and make this a daily habit to invest in your future self. Or you can sell your car, start a garden, or start hunting for your food instead 😉
When you are training with weights, most are not quite sure how or when to increase their weights. A few things to make sure of is:
- Is your form is still correct?
- Is your range of motion compromised (as you increase weights you may not be able keep the same depth)?
- Have you’ve completed a lower weight prior to increasing?
- Have you done the same weight for at least two weeks in a row
Form is super important when you are working out so that you know you are targeting the right muscles. If your form fails, that means your muscles have to recruit other muscles in the body to finish the motion. This will lead to injuries as your body will stray from the correct posture.
Range of motion is important throughout each exercise as well in order to work the entire body of your muscle. If you increase your weights, but are only able to lift it 75% of what you did before, it will not help you increase your strength. Your weakest point is when your muscle is at a full extension or stretch.
A warm up set is also very important when lifting. Have you ever went to pick up a large box thinking it is heavy and realized it didn’t weight anything? What happens? You’ll practically throw the box because you were expecting to use more of your muscles. This is called muscle fiber recruitment. As you increase your weights, more muscle fibers are recruited to help finish the task. Light weights require a few fibers, while heavy weights require more. This is why it is important to do a warm up set prior to your new weight. Prepare your neuromuscular system (brain communication to the muscles) to recruit more fibers as you go along to avoid injuries.
Some days are better than others and if you are an experienced exerciser you know this very well. Make sure you are able to complete that particular exercise two weeks in a row with the same challenging weight before you decide to increase. This will insure your muscles have adapted properly.
As always, consult with a qualified trainer in order to know if you are working out correctly with proper form and progression.