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The How vs the How Much: Heavy Lifting and Bodyweight Training

Whether you're a beginner or an advanced lifter, perfecting the form that you use during any given exercise should be the primary focus, as opposed to how much weight you are lifting, pushing or pulling.

Focusing on the technique of each lift is the most difficult, but most important, component to decrease the risk of injury while working out. By consistently performing and focusing on the appropriate technique you will maximize the effects of the exercise, leading to your desired results.

Effects of lifting excessive weight

Weightlifting exercises are designed to target specific muscle groups. Using inappropriate weight leads to compensation, which means muscles not intended for that movement pattern may become engaged, causing unnecessary momentum.

Lifting excessively heavy weight may result in a sense of accomplishment, but it can lead to body misalignment, which can place muscles and joints in awkward positions, potentially shifting a dangerous amount of the movement to your lower back.

The ability to maintain proper breathing patterns in a controlled manner while liifting excessive weights can be compromised, which may affect focus while lifting. You should be able to exhale during the heaviest phase (exertion phase) of the movement.

Combat these effects by using specific grips and/or handles along with particular body positions (including hand width and/or foot stance) to assist in maintaining correct posture and preventing misalignment.

Every individual benefits from specific differences to fit his or her physique, so please contact a personal trainer to learn these specific body positions to maximize your workout. 

The How vs the How Much: Heavy Lifting and Bodyweight Training

Bodyweight exercises

You don't need to take big risks or be a hero to make strength gains. Bodyweight exercises are not just for the entry-level exerciser. Increasing body awareness and learning/reinforcing the desired movement patterns before adding an external load to your body increases your level of success.

You should also begin each workout with a bodyweight warm-up, and incorporate the same exercises and/or movement patterns before adding an external load to your body. This will stimulate the nervous system and "wake up" the muscles which need to be recruited. Working through the full range of motion may be hindered when using heavy weights, and may be easier to achieve when performing bodyweight exercises. 

Talk to a personal trainer at your club about any questions you may have regarding these principles, and start seeing better results from the effort that you are already putting in.

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