If you know me, you know I am a stickler for proper form. There are lots of reasons why, but a top one would be to not injure yourself. If strength-training is a part of your workout program then you should learn proper form to lifting weights. If not, then you are not getting all the benefits that come from strength-training. If you are ones of those that is grunting, screaming and rocking, back and forth then you are most likely not lifting properly so you should keep reading to find out what you should be doing.

Rule # 1. Always warm up. Before you touch a weight you need to get your muscles warm and ready to go. Do at least 5 minutes of cardio or other aerobic exercise. If it’s an arm day and there isn’t a machine around to get you warm, doing arm circles can do the trick.

Rule # 2. Good form is more important than the amount you are lifting. If you are arching your back or straining your neck then it may be too much weight, especially if you are rocking your body to generate momentum to pull the weight. Not only can your injure yourself, it is not effective.

Rule # 3. Increase your weight steadily. Slow and steady wins the race and this applies to strength-training. Jumping up the weight by too much can overload the muscles, think about it, jumping from 5 to 10 pound increase is doubling the load on your muscles.

Rule # 4. Take your breathing seriously and remember to do it. Exhale as you lift and inhale deeply as you lower. Be careful to not over do it and use to much force since it can make you feel lightheaded. Proper breathing is important since it sends oxygen to your muscles. DO NOT hold your breath. Not breathing can bring sharp increases to your blood pressure and even make you faint.

Rule #5. Use your full range of motion. Using full range of motion can enhance your flexibility. Do not go past your normal range since it could cause injury and too much stress on the joints. If you are not sure ask a personal trainer that is trained to show you correct motions for each exercise.

Rule #6. You do you! This is not a competition with others around you and you are not in the gym to impress others you may find attractive. Just because you see someone that is in shape doing a different workout than what you are doing does not mean that workout will work for you or that they are even doing it properly. So do yourself a favor don’t pay attention to others around you.

Rule #7. Pay attention and focus. Don’t get lazy. Remind yourself what muscle group you are working and focus on that muscle. Get in the zone and don’t waste the workout. It’s really easy to be off in space and going through the motions – getting no benefits from the workout and not following rules #1 through #6.

At Ish Fitness, my rules are workout words to live by and I am there coaching you through each exercise. At my private, appointment only gym in La Vista, Nebraska I personalize every client’s training package and train all types of clients, in all different stages of life. I am here to help you meet your personal goals. Call me at 402-208-7401 to setup your free health assessment.