How to Lift Weights for Serious Results
It’s easy to go to the gym and throw around some weights. But, without proper technique and a plan that is designed around a goal, we’re really just hoping for results. What I want to discuss in this article is how to go from hoping for results to actually get the results you’re working so hard for.
Different Forms of Weight Lifting
It all starts with your goal. Are you lifting to lose weight? Are you lifting to get massive gains? Are you looking to get ripped?
These are the three main – and broad – goals when it comes to hitting the gym. And to achieve any of these goals, you’re going to need a plan that’s designed specifically for that goal.
Lifting to lose weight will involve keeping your heart rate elevated through a combination of strength training and cardio. Whereas, generating massive muscle growth will require you to lift fewer reps at a heavier weight. Getting ripped falls somewhere in the middle and involves the perfect ratio of fat burning and muscle building.
Before we get into how to lift weights, let’s look at five tips that every athlete needs to follow:
- Always, Always, Always Warm Up
No matter what you’re goal, you need to start your workout with a warm up session. It doesn’t need to be longer than 5 minutes or so, but you do have to let your body know that it’s time to kick ass and take names.
The perfect warm up will raise your body temperature, blood flow and heart rate and allow you to maximize your workouts. A blend of light cardio and a quick stretch will be enough to get your body in prime condition to get to work.
An Important Reminder
Stretching, and keeping active, is not only important before your workout. Continue to stretch your muscles between sets and after your session. This will allow blood to circulate through your muscles and eliminate waste – which helps you get results.
- When it’s Time to Work Out, it’s Time to Workout
When it comes to fitness, the old adage is true – you will get out what you put in. The gym is a place to work. It’s not a place to Facebook, Snapchat, or text your friends. The effectiveness of your workout depends on the work you put into it. Don’t waste your workout time messing around.
- Concentrate and Maximize
Less weight and great form beats heavier weight and poor form every day of the week. When you concentrate on specific muscle groups, you can properly work them by performing controlled, steady movements. Focus on keeping form throughout every rep and maximizing it. It’s easy to ‘assist’ your muscles with other muscle groups. For example, it’s easy to use your legs to help you get a shoulder press up. But, at the end of the day, you are robbing your shoulders of the results they could be getting. Concentrate on form – not reps.
- Proper Form Reduces Risk of Injury
When exercising, proper form is critical to ensure you maximize the benefits of each set and rep. Avoid jerking and using your momentum to assist you with lifting. These type of moves with prevent you from achieving your goals, set you back, and increase your risk of injury. These type of movements are the main reasons injuries occur, by putting unnecessary strain on your tissues and joints. Instead, emphasize each pump while focusing on the concentric and eccentric phases so every rep is maximized.
- Push Your Limits
The mind is a powerful thing. It’s so powerful, that when you go into an exercise with a preconceived ‘target’ or ‘number of reps’ that you’re going to do, your body is able to shut down your body. In your mind, you’ve succeeded in hitting your goal. But in reality, you’ve failed because you’ve limited yourself before you began. Instead, lift with proper form, until you can’t lift with proper form. By allowing your muscles to be shocked and become fatigued, you’ve signaled to them that they need to grow and become stronger.
How to Lift Weights for Results
With those five tips in mind, let’s take a look at how to develop the perfect fitness plan to achieve results – no matter what your goal is. To get started, you need to identify a few things:
- What is your goal?
- How many days can you work out each week?
- How much time can you spend in the gym?
Once you answer these questions, putting a plan together becomes simple. We recommend working out at least three times per week, and a maximum of six times per week. For most, the sweet spot is four or five days per week.
A proper workout session can last anywhere from 20 minutes to 90 minutes. For example, high intensity interval training is a great cardio exercise that can be done in just 20 minutes. However, bodybuilding workouts that revolve around lifting heavy weights will take longer. Normally, the sweet spot falls between 45 and 60 minutes.
With that in mind, ignore the clock. Your results will depend solely on the work out put in inside of the gym, not the time that you spend in the gym. Some people go balls-to-the-walls for 20 minutes and get more out of their workout than those who spend 2 hours in the gym lifting, resting, and texting.
Designing Your Workout Plan
Once you identify your goal and how much time you can commit to the gym, you need to develop a solid workout plan that will get you to your goal. Here is a guide to follow when creating your workout plan:
Isolate the Muscle Groups
For starters, it’s important to attack the large muscle groups separately – your back, core, chest, arms, and legs should be isolated and worked individually for the most part.
Did You Catch That? For the Most Part…
By “for the most part” we mean that it’s important to change it up. Don’t stick to the same workout for longer than 45 days. Your body will fall into a daze and your results will plateau. To keep your muscles guessing, and working to keep up, change your workouts from time to time. For example, try workouts that involve more cardio, or less cardio, compound exercises, or intervals. Don’t let your results become stagnant by predictably performing the same exercises.
Rest: You Deserve It
One of the fairly common problems when it comes to working out is that athletes over-workout. They drain their body, and push their bodies to the limits too much – which produces negative results. To avoid over-working your body, take at least one day off each week. Also, allow at least 48 hours between workouts that target the same muscle groups. Your muscles need time to recover and grow stronger and they can only do this when they’re rested.
Get Started Today
The thing about working out is that it’s easy to talk about. But, talking doesn’t produce results. Get in the gym and start working out. It can definitely be considered ‘on-the-job training’. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or to try exercises that may be outside of your comfort zone.
The only way to get results is to get to work. Just remember to use proper form, exercise different muscle groups, and allow your body time to recover and grow. When you’re ready to get the most out of your workouts, we’re here to help.