Are you looking to work up a sweat? You can make sure you get a great workout and reduce your risk of injuries by following a few simple rules.
Making a plan before you exercise will help you stay on track so you’re not wandering around the gym thinking about which machine to hit next. When you plan your workout, you can also set more specific goals. For example, if you know you’re going to run 5 miles, you can set a specific time goal, whereas it’s hard to set concrete goals if you’re just going for a jog.
You don’t need your whole workout planned down to the set, but you should have a solid idea of the exercises you want to do and what muscles you want to hit. Of course, if you want to plan a precise workout routine, that’s an option, as well.
Warming up before you start your workout gets the blood flowing to your muscles, which helps you perform better and helps prevent injuries. A dynamic stretching routine that incorporates movement is an excellent warmup choice, or you can do light cardio. Warmups should be about 10 to 15 minutes.
When you’re performing resistance exercises, it’s also important that you warm up on each exercise before moving up to higher resistances. For example, if you’re performing a deadlift, trying to max out right away could result in a muscle strain. Gradually work your way up by starting with much lighter weights.
Make sure you’re focused on what you’re doing throughout your entire workout. Resist the temptation to let your mind wander or to get distracted and spend half your workout socializing. You get the best results when stay on track and give your workout your full attention. You’ll also reduce the chances of injuring yourself because you weren’t paying enough attention while you were performing an exercise.
Breathing may be an afterthought to many gym goers, but it’s a crucial part of your performance no matter what you’re doing. When you breathe properly, you supply more oxygen to your muscles, which can make all the difference in squeezing out that last rep or running one more mile.
While your breathing pattern may vary a bit depending on what you’re doing, the most important thing is that you’re taking deep breaths. Each time you breathe, the air should fill up your stomach, instead of your chest. Aim to inhale and exhale to a count of three each. Not only will this help you get more oxygen to your muscles, but a strong exhale can also help you create more force.
This rule applies both at the gym and afterwards. When you’re working out, it’s important that you have the right amount of rest time after each set. You need to give yourself time to recover for the next set, but you don’t want to take too long and end up wasting time. Generally speaking, about a minute is a good rest time between sets, but it can vary depending on your workout. For example, if you’re performing very heavy lifts to build maximum strength, you may need a couple minutes of rest between each set.
You also need sufficient rest between workouts. Get plenty of sleep, and don’t run your body into the ground. If you’re feeling extremely sore one day, it may be good to take a day off or stick to a low-intensity routine for the day.
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