7 Workout Tips for Beginners That Will Make Your Exercise More Effective and Enjoyable
So you’re just starting to work out? Good for you! This is the first step towards a healthy and fit life. However, when you’re a newbie in the gym, you can make a lot of mistakes that can not only slow down your progress, but even end up with an injury. To make your workouts as effective and safe as possible, here are some beginner tips to keep in mind:
1. Make it a habit
Many workout beginners expect to see results after one week of training. This is not realistic and the key to success is creating a habit of consistent training. In order to create a new habit of hitting the gym, it’s necessary to work out at least 3 times a week for at least 3 weeks. According to research, most habits take at least 21 days to form, so stay consistent at the beginning and it will pay off in the future. Once you notice that missing a workout brings irritation instead of relief, you know you’re on the right track.
2. Practice your form
People learn best by observing, which can be either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on who you observe. If you watch someone lifting improperly, there’s a big chance that you’ll also do it wrong. To get the best results and avoid injury, look at yourself in the mirror as you lift or perform body-weight movements and try to take it easy and light while you’re still a beginner. Most bad form comes from too much weight too early, so instead of focusing on weight, focus on form.
3. Start with compound moves
If you want quick muscle growth or fat loss, the best thing to do is skip muscle isolation and focus on compound moves. Moves like squats, presses, rows, deadlifts, pull-ups, pushups and lunges work many different muscle groups at the same time allowing you to lift heavier, boost your metabolic rate and see great results faster. Later on, you can start introducing isolation moves like lateral raises, shrugs and glute kickbacks.
4. Squeeze your muscles
Any visit to the gym is worth more than staying at home in front of the TV. However, while you’re doing your workout, it’s important to get the most out of your time there. When lifting weights or doing bodyweight exercises, don’t forget to contract your muscles at the top of every movement-it might seem like a small detail, but it can make a huge difference.
For instance, if you’re doing glute bridges, squeeze your abs and booty at the top of the thrust. Or if you’re doing leg extensions, squeeze your quads as you extend your legs. Keep the contraction for one to two seconds, which is enough to additionally challenge the muscles.
5. Make every rep perfect
Watching your muscles contract as you lift weights is fun and satisfying, but don’t just let them drop once the lifting portion of the move is over. Every stage of the lift should be controlled, even the lowering part. The eccentric part of the lift uses your muscles as a break to slow down the weights and oppose gravity, and that action is just as important as lifting.
To practice better control and perfect your lifts, grab some quality barbells online so you can lift at home between gym workouts. With just your empty barbell, you can practice many moves like curls, rows, deadlifts, presses and squats. Low weight will allow you to make every rep perfect and build strength and stability gradually.
6. Ask questions
Beginners often find exercising to be intimidating, especially in gyms full of seasoned fitness enthusiasts, but don’t hesitate to ask someone for help. A quick question about an exercise or a machine will flatter any gym-goer, just don’t interrupt their workout. The worst thing you can do for your progress is to stay ignorant and use the equipment wrong. If you’re too shy to ask a random person, you can book one or two sessions with a personal trainer and continue your path alone.
7. Practice mind-muscle connection
Mindfulness and working out go hand in hand, no matter how crazy that might sound. When focusing on your muscles, you will learn how to feel them move, contract and extend. To start making mind-muscle connections, you can easily practice at home by flexing and feeling how your muscles move. Being conscious of your movements while you work out can help you visualize desired effects and target the right muscles.
In order to maximize your workouts, practice mind-muscle control every time you exercise. Besides counting reps or keeping an eye on the clock, feeling the muscles through every stage of the move can greatly improve your exercise, maintain motivation and bring you closer to your goals.
Exercising is not as nearly intimidating as you might think. If you practice good discipline and focus, you will not only notice results faster but also learn to love working out.
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