Never stretch a cold muscle; meaning you should always make sure your muscles are warm before stretching. It's usually better to do a more extensive stretch at the very end of your fitness program, but light stretching between exercises is fine. Stretching doesn't take a long time, and it shouldn't, but you do benefit tremendously from it. Stretch only after the muscle has been properly warmed-up. Again, the best time for a complete stretch is when your exercise session has been completed. By the time you have finished your specific weight lifting program, which will be about 35 - 45 minutes in length, your muscles will have warmed up as much as they can possibly get.
Remember any fitness program must always include a warm-up and proper stretching for maximum effectiveness and to prevent injury.When you do this you will indeed experience the terrific benefits a good weight training program will give you.
For you to succeed in your over-all fitness plan you need to select at least one exercise for each major muscle group in your body. This will help to promote well-balanced muscle development.
Another important part of your over-all fitness plan is the order your exercises are performed. When doing a range of weightlifting exercises, it's better to start with the larger muscle groups then perform exercises for the smaller muscle groups. Performing your fitness program in this manner will allow you to be exercising at your best during the most demanding exercises when fatigue levels are the lowest and you feel fresh.
Another important area of exercise selection is the total number of sets per exercise and total number of sets per exercise session. A "set" as it relates to weight lifting is the number of successive repetitions of a single exercise performed in succession without stopping. Now the number of sets per exercise and per exercise session is really going to depend on exactly what your goals are. Always treat your very first set for each muscle group as a warm-up, as was discussed in the warm-up section above. Then the rest of your sets will be determined by whether or not you are using a beginner, intermediate, or advanced level fitness program and what your particular goals are.
Regardless of the number of sets performed, all sets and repetitions have to be done with proper exercise form and under complete control.
Exercise Form Or Technique
One thing that always seems to be missing in most fitness programs, and the most common and critical training mistake is exercise form or "technique." Too much weight usually results in poor form, which decreases your ability to get results and also increases the risk of injury.
Examples of poor form or technique include, but aren't limited too…
- Bouncing the bar off your chest when performing a chest press;
- Using your hips for momentum and over extending your back to initiate the bicep curls;
- Arching your back or bending backwards when performing a shoulder press during the resistance portion of your fitness session;
- Using momentum in any exercise;
- And training at a fast tempo.
Be aware of these types of mistakes and remove them.