Lift Smart: 5 tips for your next gym workout

Hitting the gym for some strength training? Perfect that lift with five pro tips from Physical Training Instructor Samuel Lee.

 Lift Smart: 5 tips for your next gym workout

If you are a regular gym-goer, it is highly likely that you are in good shape.

According to figures published by the Harvard Medical School, a person who weighs 70kg (155 pounds) burns 112 calories after a 30-minute long weightlifting session.

This amount of energy expenditure may seem small compared to a vigorous cardio workout, but other health benefits associated with regular gym trips more than make up for the difference.

Recent research conducted by a team at Boston University suggested that resistance training improves the body’s overall metabolism, and more.

A consistent lifting regime not only promotes the growth of powerful, ‘fast-twitch’ Type II muscle fibres but also helps keep metabolic diseases – such as obesity and diabetes – at bay. This is due to the release of chemicals that encourage fat-burning in other tissues and organs like the liver.

Accumulate gains, not pains

In spite of the many health benefits that weightlifting has to offer, enthusiasts are strongly advised to exercise caution when taking on a fresh routine.

“Working out is definitely good for your health, but I have seen amateur weightlifters injure themselves due to improper technique and posture,” said Physical Training Instructor Samuel Lee.

“All it takes is one small slip-up and you can get inflicted with a sprain, or even a scary muscle tear,” he added.

Samuel conducts fitness courses for members of the Singapore public, as well as military, security and law enforcement personnel. His list of accolades include being a Fitness Training & Sports Academy trainer at Force 21.

Aerinlé spoke to Samuel, who offered five workout tips for those who love pumping iron:

1) Always remember to warm up

A proper warm-up routine brings multiple benefits for the body. It raises a person’s heart rate and body temperature to an exercise-ready state. Warming up also helps to prepare muscles for movement by increasing the flow of oxygen-rich blood.

“Besides activity-specific stretches, light jogging will help to raise your body’s flexibility and range of motion,” Samuel said.

2) Do multi-joint exercises before single-joint ones

As a general rule, prioritise multi-joint exercises over single-joint movements for higher workout efficiency.

“Compound lifting movements are more effective at building muscle than single-joint motions. For example, doing a bench press before bicep curls will help you maximise the training of larger muscle groups,” Samuel explained.

3) Maintain proper form

As with all types of exercises, recognise your physical limits as it can help to prevent injury. Samuel said: “Quality matters more than the number of repetitions here; an awkward lift or bad posture can potentially lead to serious joint damage in the back, forearms or wrists.”

4) Lift at the right intensity

High-intensity training promotes faster and more significant muscle growth, but it is advisable for beginners to start at a level that they are comfortable with.

“Always pick a weight that is suitable for you. It should provide enough of a challenge without being too heavy,” Samuel said. “If your body accumulates too much fatigue, it can result in soreness at best. At worst, it can lead to serious muscle injuries,” he quipped.

5) Observe your breathing

Last but not least, proper breathing techniques are key to unlocking a better and more fruitful workout. “Breathing might seem to be a no-brainer to most people, but it is everything if you want to maximise workout efficiency,” Samuel said.

“Always remember to exhale on effort, and inhale on recovery to get more oxygen in (your body) before the next repetition.”

Want to review these tips before hitting the gym? Watch our instructional video below for a quick revision!

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