In this second part of this blog I want to cover one question that people ask the most and two questions that are rarely covered.
- What resistances should I be using? If you are just starting exercising with weights, use resistances that you can easily handle for the required number of repetitions and concentrate on getting your technique right. The most common mistake that people make is to try to lift resistances that are too heavy for them, resulting in frustration and injury. So slow the movements down and lighten the load so that every repetition you do is perfect. If the correct technique is not demonstrated, then the resistance you’re using is too heavy or the intensity is too high. So take into account the weight you are using and the rest periods between sets. Build up the intensity as your body adapts to the loading. (And just to reiterate what I said in Part One, you MUST change your workout around once you have adapted completely.) The last 3 – 4 repetitions in the last set of each exercise should be hard to complete (but not impossible). You can either use the same resistance for each set of an exercise or start with a resistance that is lighter for the first, an intermediate weight in the second set and the maximum weight that allows you to complete the required number of repetitions for the last 1 – 2 sets.
- This is a question that should be asked because it is the key to making optimum progress. How important is it to be completely present during resistance trainings? This mental skill on focusing on what you are doing takes practice. Next time you watch a major competitive Weight Lifting contest, look at how the competitors prepare to lift the weights they do. Firstly they visualize what they need to do to successfully complete the lift. Secondly they develop a state of mind where they become relaxed and focused on the present (being in ‘the moment’). This is an optimum example of focus – but if you look at nearly all people exercising in commercial gyms, their minds are rarely concentrating on what they are doing. This skill I have covered here is seldom taught but essential if you desire to get the most out of what you’re doing.
- Another basic skill that is seldom asked about is – how important is it to understand what I’m doing? This key concept has been taught to athletes in the old ‘Sovet Block’ countries for many years. This understanding of what they are doing and why they are doing it is an essential ingredient for developing maximum potential. So if you cannot see the sense in what you are doing, change it, get some expert advice and research the topic.
You may not consider yourself an athlete, but at what level does an athlete become an athlete? If you desire to maximize your potential then the ‘Cornerstone’ to achieving this is to consider yourself as an athlete from the start?