When most people resistance train rather it be with free weights, machines or cables, they never really think about why they are doing the exercise and what muscle group they are trying to target. People see all sorts of exercises from social media, magazines, etc; but do not consider if the exercise is right for you and what are you trying to accomplish. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your resistance training program.
- Check your grip.
Your grip or hand position can change the lever arm, the weight distributed, and the range of motion allowed for that joint. Not being cautious of the grip you choose during an exercise can target the wrong muscle group or put you through a motion that can lead to injury. Don’t do everything you see on TV! If you are trying a new exercise ask yourself. What does this exercise do? Do I feel it in the muscle group that it is supposed to target? Is this exercise what’s best for me? There are hundreds of different variations of exercises for what you are trying to accomplish, sometimes it is best to stick to the basics.
- Check your angle.
When I am in the gym training I see all sorts of crazy exercises that make no since. If the angle of the force applied to the joint is off even an inch you can engage the wrong muscle group or too many muscle groups which will defeat the purpose of the exercise; especially if it is a single joint exercise. This is especially important when working with cables or bands. If you are doing cable flies and the angles are shallow you will only get resistance in the plane allowed by the cables.
- Be aware of weight changes.
A dumbbell curl going through the range of motion changes weight distribution throughout exercise. Have you ever noticed at the top or mid-curl how much easier it is? This goes back to angles. You can increase or decrease the weight load throughout the range of motion with incline or decline, even being prone or supine. Try different exercises and feel where the weight drops off and pick up, this way you can choose the right exercise to get the most out of the training.
Resistance training is a science. How the load is applied to the body and the joints can help to increase strength or create imbalances. Simply being more cognitive about the exercises you choose can make all the difference in your program and results.