May 23, 2024

Control your weight training!

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Slow down your weight training. Add pauses to reduce momentum!

When lifting weights, pause at the top of the range of motion and pause at the bottom of the range of motion. Adding in one to two second pauses reduces momentum during weight training. Reducing momentum means your muscles work harder instead of bouncing or swinging through your routine.


*Consult your physician before performing exercise.

Practice Your Form

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Practice Form!

If you’ve been at the weight lifting game for awhile, doing a quality-control check of your form is always productive. It’s easy to pick up bad habits here and there, or to crank out a sloppy set every so often. Check your alignment, check your posture, check your speed, check your range of motion, check your stability. Here’s how to begin:

Perform your exercise without weight, or with half the weight you usually do. How’s your form?

Don’t want to waste time? Quality-control your exercises as a range of motion warm-up without weights. Stand in front of the mirror and check your form points. A few minutes of quality control every few months is time and effort well spent! You’ll improve your results, and decrease risk of injury through logging a high-quality workout!


Slow Down Your Weight Training

Get Fit Quick Tip:

SLOW DOWN your weight training!

Completing your strength training exercises at a slow, controlled pace makes sure the goal muscle is working to the max. Here’s how to know:

Lift the weight for a 2-3 second count, pause, and then lower the weight for a 3-4 second count, pause. Performing your strength exercise at a slower pace means your muscles are under tension for a longer time. You’ll also break momentum, prevent sloppy form and increase the work all of your stabilizing muscles do, not just the muscle targeted in the exercise.


Important Rule for Strength Training

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Mix up your exercises every 4-6 weeks!

Your muscles will adapt to the load of your workout over time. Mixing up your routine every 4-6 weeks means your muscles have to adapt to a new angle or way of working. This means your muscles continue to change, shape and improve strength. Here are just a few choices for strength training:

Examples: use free-weights, barbells, body weight, cables, bands.


Combo Exercises

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Combine moves for function!

Combine traditional strength training exercises to improve function. For example, perform a Squat immediately into a Bicep Curl, following the strength pattern needed to pick something up off the floor and carry. Perform a Squat with Shoulder Press, which mimics the pattern of picking an item up off of the floor and placing on a shelf overhead. Look at the movement patterns you’re required to perform during the day and then train for those patterns in the gym.


*Consult your physician before beginning exercise.


Master Exercise Form

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Form matters!

Master proper exercise form for an effective workout. Learning how to execute an exercise safely is paramount, and that means learning proper form. This means you should know what muscles you’re working with the exercise and why it’s important to your fitness program.  Here’s how to begin:

Maintain proper spinal alignment during the entire set.

Stabilize your core throughout the range of motion.

Master the exercise without weight first.

Control the entire range of motion on each rep.


Are you lifting too heavy?

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Effective exercise is more important than load of exercise.

How heavy is too heavy? Regardless of the number of reps you’re logging or particular move you’re attempting, sometimes the weight is simply not safe or appropriate for you.

Are you lifting too heavy? Here’s how to know:

Unable to load and unload the weight properly. You should be able to lift the weights off the rack and move, with proper mechanics, into your starting position. The same applies to racking the weight after your set is complete.

Unable to maintain proper form. You should be able to stabilize your body against the weight throughout the entire range of motion.

Unable to control the speed of the exercise. You should be able to stop the move at any time during your range of motion. Controlling the weight, rather than using momentum, is key.


Ask A Pro by Mollie Millington

Question: I’m 65 years young. How do you recommend I start lifting weights? I’m brand new to working out and plan to purchase dumbbells to workout at home. -Carol, Nashville TN

Answer:  Begin with two initial steps to determine the best course of action for your individual goals. Firstly, consider enlisting assistance from a Professional Fitness Trainer in the beginning, as s/he can help you create good habits with proper form and technique, while avoiding injury. Secondly, look into local gyms or community centers, as they may offer group exercise classes that involve weights. Both of these initial steps will help you learn the how-to’s of strength training to then safely and effectively transfer these principles to a home workout.

Here are a few additional points to keep in mind when starting out on an at-home strength training routine:

Purchase 2-3 sets of dumbbells at different weights. A good starting selection is 3, 5, and 8 lb weights. Remember that water bottles and soup cans are also good light weights to start.  
Invest in a strength training DVD.  Or research if your cable company provides on demand fitness shows for guidance as to the best exercise selection.

Be mindful of proper footwear. Be sure to wear athletic shoes when lifting weights to help your body maintain stability and to protect your feet in case one of the dumbbells is dropped.

Hydrate.  Have water on hand. Hydrate before, during, and after your strength workout.

Always warm up prior to your strength training workout. An appropriate warm up consists of walking, jogging, or going up and down the stairs. Once you break into a light sweat, you are sufficiently warm.

Keep it simple. Remember to keep the exercises simple at first and take a day off (a rest day) after completing a weights session. Your muscles will need a day to recover. One this day off (or even the day after) you might experience delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS.) This is normal and means your muscles are healing. It is perfectly fine to perform cardio on your rest days. 

London-based personal trainer Mollie Millington may be reached at, as well as via @PTMollie on Twitter.