Here is one simple fact, weight-lifting is very simple to understand and can be universally applied to any fitness regime. Most of what works is easy to understand and like many things in life, less is more. There is no reason to buy into all the hype out there with gimmicky fitness products and crazy workout routines that you cannot even pronounce the name of, when all you need is to master the basics of lifting weights with proper form.

First off you do not need to be a professional athlete or bodybuilder to lift weights. Weight training can help you increase strength, tone muscles and lose fat but you need to check your form. If done correctly you can reap the benefits, if done incorrectly you may hurt yourself.

Follow these do’s and don’ts to help receive the benefits of weight training and protect yourself from injury.

  • Before you get started, work with a knowledgeable weight training specialist. If you been lifting for awhile consider scheduling some time to check in with a trainer to double check your technique and help you identify any changes that need to be made.
  • Start with the appropriate amount of weight. This weight should be something you can comfortably lift without strain 12-15 times. Increasing weight and repetitions over time.
  • Learn to do each exercise correctly. The better the form, the better results and the less likelihood that you will injure yourself. If you are unable to maintain good form – decrease the weight or number of repetitions. Never ignore pain. If the exercise is causing you pain, stop.
  • Think about your form from the time you pick up the weight to the time you set it down. Proper form matters from the beginning to the end. If you’re not sure if you are doing the exercise correctly, ask a professional for help. Do not watch others around you because they could be doing it wrong.
  • Make sure you balance your routine out and always have a plan. Work all the major muscle groups to create equal balance throughout the body and always plan what you are going to work. Going in a gym to wander around meaninglessly is a waste of time.
  • Don’t skip the warm-up. Before you ever lift weights you need to warm up the muscles with at least 5 minutes of cardio.
  • It is important to breathe and rest. Do not hold your breath, instead breathe out as you lift the weight and breathe in as you lower. Make sure to give your muscles recovery time. Either work all muscle groups in one session 2-3 times a week or work specific muscle groups during different sessions. For example, leg day on Mondays, arms on Wednesday, etc. It’s important to also not rush in between each exercise, give yourself at least a minute break in between sets.

It is important before you start any fitness routine to consult a professional that is knowledgeable about you and your body. When it comes to weight training the more you are focus on each movement, from start to finish and listening to what your body is telling you the more you will receive the benefits. Remember to master the basics and fundamental movements before moving on to do advance or compound movements.