Okay, so you know how to develop a workout routine that best suits you and you know the principles of training to achieve your desired goals. Now you’ll learn a few extra tips to staying in shape and what to focus on during training to make every single workout worthwhile.
People often go to the gym with no plan of what body part they are going to train or how they are going go about it. Without a specific plan of training, it will be harder and take longer for you to achieve your desired results.
Having a planned workout for each day will also keep you motivated and enthusiastic about training and help to keep you on the right track. For example, if you are training chest and triceps in the afternoon, you can psyche yourself up the whole day for that training session, so when the time comes to train, your mind is amped up and focused, and your body is ready for action.
Exercising is not just about lifting weights and doing some cardiovascular work. When you want to really target a specific muscle and achieve certain results, you need to be totally focused on your goal. You need to imagine the muscles contracting and building. When you can actually visualize your muscles growing, then you know that you are completely focused on that exercise.
Correct breathing is often underrated and the truth is that proper breathing is 100% essential when it comes to training. When you inhale, you are taking in oxygen, and oxygen is what gives your muscles the energy and nutrients to perform effectively. A general rule of thumb, which works in most cases, is to exhale on the contraction and inhale on the release. It’s so simple and so effective in assisting with the muscle building, yet so many people take it for granted.
Proper posture when exercising is vital in preventing injury and targeting the muscle. To have an idea of how to adjust your posture when exercising and in everyday life, start by trying to keep your shoulders back and dropped, and lengthen your spine by reaching the back of your neck towards the sky. Many people go to sleep at the end of the day with a tight neck and shoulders, this is because they keep their shoulders hunched up or rolled forward and don’t even realise it.
When using correct posture it is important to keep your core muscles tight and contracted. Always suck in your belly and keep your abdominal muscles contracted, this is a nice little trick to develop those core muscles. When doing seated shoulder press for example, curl your pelvis slight posterior and tighten your abs to keep your lower back against the seat. This prevents your back from arching which helps in preventing lower back pain.
Stretching is probably the most ignored aspect of exercising. By doing regular stretching you can improve blood circulation throughout your body. Stretching actually helps the muscle to recover faster, it reduces muscle soreness and stiffness, and it can also help the muscle to develop better. If you want to really benefit from stretching I recommend doing at least 10 minutes of full body stretches after every training session.
Now that you know what it takes to create the body you desire, it’s time to put everything you’ve read here into action. Start with a small commitment, whether that’s signing up to a gym, or going on a run tomorrow, make that commitment now! Take it day by day and you’ll start seeing results before you know it, more than that you’ll start feeling healthier, happier and generally better.
(Kilo2Kili, Ariel Navarro, December 2011)
Training 101 part 1
Training 101 part 2