November 03, 2017

Entering the weights room for the first time can be daunting. There is an abundance of unfamiliar equipment and machinery. Oh and how could I forget…the dread of venturing to the unexplored territory of the free weights. 

You may have thought to yourself, what will people think if I lift a weight that is deemed too light? What if I perform the movement wrong? 

While these thoughts and feelings are common, I’m here to put this worry to rest. Every single person on the weights floor, including the most experienced trainers, have been where you are today. 

Hence, if you are new to weight training and need help getting started. PLEASE send me a message I WANT to help you.

WHY? I wish that I had gotten help as soon as I began weight training. Looking back, enlisting help from a Personal Trainer would have saved me hours of confusion pondering over questions such as “am I training frequently enough?” “Am I doing the right exercises to target the correct muscles?”

Likewise, I would have learnt correct exercise technique, intensity and selection much sooner and hence reached my fitness goals MUCH faster.w

So, without further ado, here are three common mistakes beginners make when they start weight training and how to overcome them.  www

**Disclaimer: If you are new to training or have an existing injury or medical condition, please consult with your health care professional before engaging in these exercises. 

Mistake #1: Not ‘feeling’ the exercise in the intended muscle group

Now, this mistake may seem odd. How does one not ‘feel’ the exercise in the correct muscle group given that they are performing the movement correctly? Surprisingly, this phenomena is more common than not. In particular, those new to weight training struggle to engage musculature comprising the posterior chain, namely the back and glutes.

Solutions:

1. Concentrate on engaging and contracting the intended muscles during movement. It’s important not let your mind wander to what you’ll be having for dinner that night.

2. Choose an appropriate weight load. You will struggle to feel the exercise in the desired muscle group if the load is either too light or too heavy.

3. Consider performing activation exercises prior to the intended movement. Activation exercises are designed to increase communication between your neurology and your muscles, thereby helping you to utilise that particular muscle during movement. For instance, you could ‘activate’ your glutes by performing banded crab walks.

Mistake #2: Training with insufficient intensity

Secondly, many beginners do not train with the level of intensity needed to promote optimal muscle growth. If you finish your set, but feel that you could have pushed out another 5 repetitions without breaking a sweat, you may benefit from increasing exercise intensity. 

Doing so will ensure that your muscles are challenged and will therefore adapt to the new training load and grow. 

Solutions:

1. There are many progressive overload techniques you can use to increase training intensity. Some basic techniques include increasing the weight load, increasing the number of repetitions or sets and decreasing the rest period between sets. Examples of more advanced overload techniques comprise drop sets, supersets and forced reps (i.e. with a spotter).

2. It is important to seek professional advice to perform such techniques safely and effectively. This is because not every technique fits every exercise. For example, you would not want to go to failure with squats, as this can prompt improper form and resultant injury. Likewise, if your intensity is weaning, it may be a sign of over-training, in which case you need to modify your training program all together.

Mistake #3: Neglecting to follow a training plan which is unique to your individual goals and needs

Lastly, it is important to train according to your individual biomechanics, experience level and of course, your goals. For instance, if you have never performed a squat before, it is important to gradually progress to the barbell squat. 

I advise beginners to start with a basic body weight squat and then progress through different exercises (i.e. goblet squatting) before adding in the complexity of a bar. Not only does this ensure that you use the correct technique, it also ascertains that you have the strength and mobility to perform the movement safely. 

Solutions:

Seeking help from a qualified professional is the best way to ensure that your training regime is suited to your individual needs. Titan Fitness has an array of friendly, experienced staff and trainers who can help you smash your fitness goals.

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