Now that gyms have finally reopened and leisure centers can operate, weightlifting is re-emerging as a conversation topic. However, there is often a misunderstanding around the difference between lifting heavy and lifting smart.
Many unseasoned gym-goers will lift the heaviest weight they can find and automatically assume they can bench it. This type of ego-boosting weightlifting rarely shows proper results and can even have detrimental effects. When it comes to building muscle, it’s essential to know how to prevent injury and see rapid results.
Jeff Kloepping is a London based personal trainer who specialises in building muscle and strength training. Using his background in professional and competitive weightlifting, he has provided us with his insight into the muscle-building world, smart lifting and perfecting your form.
What Is Your Form?
To put it simply, your form refers to the act of moving whilst training, which should be perfected to prevent any type of injury and increase strength. The goal is not to solely lift a heavy weight, but to maximise the intramuscular tension on the intended muscle. Without a proper form, the execution of this tension is taken away from the intended muscle and placed elsewhere.
Adding weight is just one component of progress. Controlling a given weight is far more important in seeing results. Many gym goers presume that lifting the same weight continually won’t show results, but even performing more reps with the same weight is progress. Small, gradual increases in weight will ensure continued progression and will also create longevity in the training process. Rushing the process will only result in injuries and short-term progress, which is why lifting heavy isn’t the only way forward for those who are looking for serious results.
Smart lifting is essential in understanding what your limits are and how much weight you can comfortably lift. When training, ensure that you brace your core and create a stable environment. This will allow your limbs to move freely and help you withstand pressure throughout the training process.
How should I utilise my time at the gym?
Since gyms have reopened, most will only allow a one-hour time slot per day, so it’s now even more important to reach your full potential whilst training. Smart lifting is essential in understanding what your limits are and how much weight you can comfortably lift.
For anyone who’s a beginner at the gym, it’s best to focus solely on your form. Finding the right movement and flexibility is far more important than rushing into lifting the heaviest weight you can manage.
Always have a spotter for working sets. This way, if you reach muscular failure, the spotter can help you with the last inch or two so you can focus on maintaining your form and keeping the tension where it’s intended to be.
Aside from finding the correct weight for you, perfecting your form is the best course of action for any gym fanatic. In this, we can see form for what it is: an important factor for weight training and muscle development.
Jeff shares more pro weightlifting and form tips on his Instagram which you can follow here: https://www.instagram.com/jeff_kloepping/