Weight training is an excellent addition to any workout routine. It not only helps tone your body, but it also speeds up your metabolism and can help you lose weight — muscles burn more calories than fat, so increasing your muscle mass means you’ll burn more calories in everyday activities.
A young European woman uses a small dumbell to work out.
If you’ve never tried weight training before, starting out with very heavy weights can lead to injury, especially during exercises that put a lot of pressure on your joints, such as squats. Another mistake? Not resting between workouts. You should wait between 24 and 48 hours before working out the same muscle group again. That gives the muscles time to repair and grow.
Using weights that are too light
It’s hard to strike a balance in weight training — while many people do too much, others — especially women — use weights that are so light, they barely challenge the muscle. Don’t be afraid to push a little harder. The weights you choose should be heavy enough that you struggle to complete the last 2-3 repetitions in the set.
In weight training, you need to know the proper positioning of your body, how to breathe when lifting — and lowering — the weights, and how to properly lift without adding pressure to your back or joints. Wrong form is not only dangerous, but it also takes away some of the effectiveness of the workout. If you’re in doubt, talk to a personal trainer rather than watching what others around you are doing — they could be making the same mistakes you are.
Speeding through the motions
If you’re speeding through the repetitions, you’re probably not completing the range of motion. That means you’re probably using some bounce to get the weights back to the beginning position, rather than engaging the muscle through all the lifting and releasing.
Slow down and make sure you don’t simply “let go” when you’re releasing the weights back to the starting position — Instead, move slowly.
Before you pick up those weights, learn how to use weights properly before you hurt yourself. Muscle or ligament tears are very painful and may take a very long time to heal.