Don't go too heavy on the weights, start light circa March 7-13, 2013; Seminole Chronicle
I'm usually focused on my own workout while at the gym, not that of those around me.
However, there are times during my rest period where I may take a moment to observe other lifters. I witness exercises being executed poorly, mostly due to excessive weight, causing compromise on form.
When beginning a weight-training program, lift weights you are able to lift comfortably for 12 to 15 repetitions. As you become stronger, increase the weight. I'm not saying you shouldn't lift heavier weights, but if form is being compromised you either need to reduce the weight or perform fewer reps.
While using lighter weight avoid swinging; take control of the weight by focusing on squeezing the muscle being worked instead of focusing on hoisting the heavy weight. By using lighter weight in this manner, you're less likely to get injured and, in the end, have a more taxing workout.
One exercise I notice being performed improperly, due to excessive weight, is the wide-grip lat pull-down. The wide-grip lat pull-down works the lats, the broadest muscle of the back. Likewise, it also targets secondary muscles, such as the biceps, middle back and shoulders.
At the pull-down machine, attach the long bar to the top pulley, knees under the pad with feet flat on the ground. Grip the long bar with your hands facing forward just beyond shoulder width.
Arms should be extended above you; lean your torso slightly back creating a small arch in your back.
Exhale as you bring the bar down to where it touches your upper chest squeezing your shoulder blades back and down.
Keep your upper torso stationary throughout this movement; only your arms are moving.
Pause briefly at the bottom, this is the isolation hold I've mentioned in the past.
Inhale as you raise the bar back to the starting position arms extended.
With the wide-grip lat pull-down, avoid leaning back too far. Maintain an upright posture by using your abdominal and back muscles. Avoid rising out of your seat, and scrunching your shoulders.
Another exercise I witness being performed improperly, not necessarily due to excessive weight, but mainly due to lack of knowledge, is the seated cable row.
Things to avoid with the seated cable row are rounding your shoulders, leaning forward and backward too much and scrunching your shoulders to your ears.
Just last week I heard a young lady at the gym tell her boyfriend, "I can't lift that much weight!"
She was right, she couldn't. In fact, her form was so bad due to the heavy weight, it hurt me to watch.
It's great to have a partner to workout with, but their advanced workout may not be right for your first time at the gym.
If you are training on your own or want to go a little heavier with your weights, be sure to ask the trainer at the gym to watch your technique or to spot you.
You'll get more from your weight-training program and reach your goals quicker with proper form.
* Form may be compromised when heavier weight is used.
* With lighter weight you are able to focus on the muscle being worked, controlling the motion of the exercise, and you're less likely to get injured.
* Choose a weight you can lift comfortably, without hoisting, for 12 to 15 reps.
* Someone else's exercise plan may not be the right one for you.
* An effective workout and achieving goals quicker are the results of proper form.
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From January 2012 thru May of 2013 I was the Seminole Chronicle's Fitness Columnist. Here you will find all of my published articles.