Siobhan Byrne: Know your limits
There's nothing to gain from pushing yourself beyond your capabilities, says our fitness expert
Last week we looked at some of the basic ways to begin your gym routine. This included incorporating a warm-up cardio and starting your weights programme with a light weight while building up gradually to your working sets.
Remember, the key to getting in shape is to be consistent with your workouts.
One thing I don't get overly concerned with is the weights that I or my clients lift. You may find throughout the course of your training that some days you are able to lift heavier weights, while on other days you are not. This may be due to many factors, including how tired you are, how much sleep you have had, how you have been eating or how stressed your day or week has been.
What is important is to realise that every workout is important, so making excuses and missing one may lead you to self-sabotaging your own gains.
If you make an excuse once, it's easy to make it again.
Know your limits. If a weight is too much for you to lift, just stop and decrease the weight. There is nothing to be gained from pushing your muscles further than they are capable, especially when starting out, as this could lead to all types of injuries.
Torn muscles, ligaments and joint issues can take a long time to repair.
Safety is paramount when strength training. Don't be put off by this, it is just like any other physical activity where bad form or pushing yourself beyond your limits, especially when starting out, will only lead to injuries.
Depending on how much time you have to allow for the gym (I recommend no more than two to three times per week, especially when starting out), it is important to give your body time to recover between the workouts to allow the muscles to repair, these are what we call rest days.
Rest days don't mean you have to sit on the couch all day. If you find your muscles are sore after training - this is called DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness) and is perfectly normal - a good brisk walk or some cardio can really help loosen the body out.
Introduction to the gym: Week 2 of 4
1/ Stand upright, holding a barbell in front on the inside of your bent elbows, with your hands clasped at your upper chest and your feet shoulder-width apart.
2/ Lower your body towards the floor, sending your hips back and down and bending your knees. Push through the heels to return to start position.
Tip: This is an ideal exercise if you suffer with any wrist or shoulder injuries, as it takes the pressure off them but is also great for core stability training.
Seated curl on BOSU
1/ Start in a sit-up position on a BOSU ball, leaning slightly back, with your legs slightly bent and feet raised up in front. Hold the dumbbells by your sides, with your arms straight and your palms facing inward.
2/ Raise the dumbbells up to your shoulders, turning at the wrists into a curl. Return to start position and repeat.
Pullover with kettlebell
1/ Start by lying on the floor holding one kettlebell in both hands, with your arms extended up over your chest.
2/ Lower the kettlebell back behind your head while keeping your arms straight. Raise the kettlebell back up over your chest to the start position.
Shoulder press with dumbbells on bosu
1/ Start by kneeling on a BOSU ball, holding dumbbells at shoulder height with your elbows bent and your palms facing forward.
2/ Raise your arms overhead while keeping your back straight. You may leave your toes resting on the ground for more stability or balance fully on the knees for a more advanced version of the exercise.
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