October 27, 2010

More workout sabotage

At the other end of the weight lifting spectrum of futile endeavors is lifting too much weight. This can be worse than not lifting enough;  not only are you wasting your time, but there is a good chance that you are hurting yourself.  How can it be too much weight if you are able to complete the reps?  There are a variety of ways to “cheat” and lift more weight than your muscles can handle.  The most common is the “body rock”. If you are doing isolation training (as compared to integrated strength training-more on that in another post), then you want only the body part you are working to be moving.  For example; when doing biceps curls your knees should not straighten and bend, and your torso should not be swinging back and forth. Speaking of swinging; unless you are specifically doing explosive training you need to lift the weights in a slow and controlled motion.  Try lifting the weight two (slow) counts up, and four counts down.  If you can only lift the weight by rocking your body or flinging it up and down, then you are using momentum, not your muscles.  Another self-check you can do is to ask yourself where you feel the exercise; shoulder pain during a biceps curl should give you a clue that something is wrong.  Does your back hurt during chest presses?  Then there is a good chance the weight is so heavy that your back is coming off the bench   You may be able to bench press 300 pounds, but if it is because you rely your back and shoulders, say hello to advil and physical therapy.   If you are not getting the results you want, try to slow it down, lower the weights and keep your body still.  Your muscles will actually work harder, and your back, knees and shoulders will thank you.

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