Lifting for max gains - how to progress every time you train

It is very easy for every Personal Trainer, Youtuber and average joe sell to you what exercises you should be doing. - but do many of them explain the reasoning why and what these movements actually are? And do they actually go through the other phases of what is involved with when entering the world of lifting weights. 

I wanted this post to be a break down of the terminology of the words you may used thrown around and how they will benefit you in your training sessions and so you don't have a blank look on your face when told these words. But to also give you some tips on things you may not have even thought about and or doubt yourself with. 

These points might seem very basic - but they are the most important ones for people to follow / remember.

Compound Movements 

No one changed their body doing arm circles and kickbacks. Some examples of these movements include pushing, pulling, squatting, pressing and lifting, more closely to resemble movements our muscles would experience in every day life. They effectively help us to produce practical, useful strength, which we can be used to complete our daily tasks with greater efficiency, this will also provide an ability to coordinate multiple muscle groups simultaneously. 

A main benefit of using compound, or multi-joint, lifts s the systemic stress they exert throughout the targeted muscles and surrounding areas. 

Progressive Overload

Put simply, this means to always be lifting a little bit more than last time. This can mean lifting a little more weight, or getting an extra rep or two. The only way to make progress is to increase what you can lift over time. The main focus is to make sure that your form is on point, otherwise this will result in injury and then regression - which leads on to my next point..

Perfecting your form

Like any new skill we all start as beginners, do not be phased by people grunting and groaning, throwing heaving weights around in the lifting section, focusing on your form is the main priority. Do not feel discouraged if you are still using a barbell with no weight. Once you have mastered the movements you can then progress. Form needs to be maintained throughout, both for your safety and also so you don't waste your time. If your form is slipping, lower your weight until it isn't. Its not worth the injury and time away from exercising. 

Mind to muscle connection 

When performing each exercise, really try to to mentally connect to the working muscle. Feel it squeeze and release. This helps to keep muscle properly engaged. This is a term used to the act of activating a muscle not just moving the weight. Ultimately, having the ability to focus your minds attention on a single muscle or muscle group relies on quite a lot of neuromuscular control and proprioception.

If it hurts, STOP

It's one thing to "feel the burn", it's another to feel actual pain. If any exercise is causing the wrong kind of pain, do not try to push through it - just stop. No single exercise is worth hurting yourself for

Bring the effort 

You will only get out of your lifting what you put into it half-ass your training? You should then expect half-assed results. Bring the effort to get the results you are working towards! As i mentioned before, do not feel discouraged when lifting weights. Muscles take time to build and even more so alongside a health lifestyle. These include sleep, nutrition, mental wellbeing and social wellbeing. 

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