Wednesday, March 9, 2011

11 Exercise Tips To Help You Get The Most From Your Workouts

I am no expert when it comes to fitness or exercising, but I would like to share a few things I’ve learned from different trainers and some from FITNESS magazine since working out:

1. Only take short rests in between and get off the machine between sets to give your muscles a chance to re-energize.

2. When doing curls, standing is more effective than sitting because it also helps tone your core. To help keep from rocking, use a lighter weight or try standing with your back against a wall while curling the weight.

3. Never lock your knees; keep them slightly bent when doing leg presses, squats, dead lifts, etc.

4. Make sure to work all body parts: legs, arms, glutes, shoulders, back, chest, and core but not the same part two days in a row.  Rest between workouts is important to give your muscles time to recover.

5. My weakness is neglecting the cardio—you should include that too!  Warm up your muscles for 5-10 minutes with cardio and either do more a separate day or after the strength training.

6. When walking up stairs, take two at a time two work the larger muscles.

7. Crunches and sit-ups are more effective if done on a stability ball than a flat surface because you use more muscles to stabilize the body.

8. Work with a personal trainer to learn how to use all the machines properly and to be sure you are using proper form to avoid injury.  As Kathy mentions in the comments, doing reps slowly is more helpful.  Proper form is important for safety and most benefit!  If you can't keep going with proper form, it's time to quit on that set or change to a lower weight.

9. Eat a light snack about an hour before working out such as a fiber bar, granola bar, yogurt, or peanut butter.

10.  Stretch afterward to help reduce soreness the next day.

11. Finally, be sure to replace your weights when done. This is my pet peeve about the gym. Strong men put on lots of weight but are too lazy to take them off when done. I do not wish to lift the 45 pound weights and should not have to. Sometimes, I will skip a machine I had planned to use because I do not wish to remove the heavy weights first.

I recently discovered a great fitness blog: Fitness Prospector. For more exercise tips, information and specific workouts, stop by and check it out.  I also recommend FITNESS magazine and Strength Training For Seniors which I am currently reading.  A review is up at Grab A Book From Our Stack.

Today I look forward to working my core.  Hope you will give strength training a try.  Just be patient and start with light weights and work up gradually.  When you can easily do 15 reps for 3 sets for three days, then you can increase the weight and do 8-12 reps and work up to 15 reps at that weight. 

It's actually fun once you get into it and start seeing results!

I feel this is my best post of the week so linked it up to Saturday Samplings.  Head over there to find more!


EmptyNester said...

My BFF is a trainer and DD3 is an Athletic Training major so I am nagged...I mean, informed on all sides about this stuff. LOL Seriously, great tips!

EmptyNester said...
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Sandee said...

Excellent tips. I need to really hit exercise after our trip. Hubby gained 10 pounds and I gained 6. We ate our way through the Caribbean. It was fantastic.

Have a terrific day. :)

Kathy said...

These are great tips, Karen. A trainer at my gym yesterday observed as I did all my strength training machines again to make sure I had good form. My form was OK, but he warned me to stop trying to get through the reps so fast. Slower is better in the long run. That's my tip!

Sparkle said...

Those are great tips! My human had a certification as a personal trainer a long time ago (she got it mainly as part of her education as a fitness writer), and she said you were right on!

Karen & Gerard Zemek said...

Empty Nester: I think that would be cool to have a best friend who is a personal trainer. So, do you workout?

Sandee: Welcome back! I'm not surprised you and your husband gained (at least you didn't gain as much as he did!). I hear those cruises have lots and lots of food that just keeps on coming! Good luck on getting those extra pounds off!

Kathy: Glad to hear you are working with a personal trainer. That should help keep you motivated and also help you get the most out of the exercises. Performing the reps with a slow, controlled motion is a good tip--I forgot to mention that one so thanks for adding it. I tend to rush through too, because I only have 30 min. during my lunch hour so tend to hurry.

Sparkle: Thanks for the confirmation that the things I learned are true.

Matty said...

Good tips. There are many more of course, but these cover the basics. Keep up the good work. Exercise does a body good.

Mrs4444 said...

This is all excellent advice! If I ever decide to get off my butt and exercise again, I will remember these wise tips. Thanks for linking this up! :)

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