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Beyond simply lifting weights, proper weight lifting techniques are necessary to build muscle mass and tone, and more importantly, to prevent injury. Improper weight lifting techniques can actually make lifting weights counterproductive and may prevent the lifter from properly focusing the weight on the muscles he or she intends to work. Proper weight lifting techniques depend largely on the type of lifting being done, and beginners should consult a coach or trainer before attempting lifting exercises. One simple rule of thumb exists for all weight training exercises: stability is vital, and swinging motions are generally not good.
When lifting weights, stability plays a large role in ensuring the proper muscles get worked and muscle strains do not occur. Of all the weight lifting techniques, stability is the most important. This means not only standing or sitting properly, but also executing a smooth, slow motion while lifting. Swinging a weight can cause accidental motions that can lead to muscle strains or tears, and such motions can prevent the muscles from working at their capacity. Inertia takes over, and instead of engaging the muscles, the arms are simply hanging on as the weight of the barbell or dumbbell swings out of control.
Perhaps the second most important of the weight lifting techniques a beginner can learn is proper breathing. It is very tempting for beginners to hold their breath when lifting weights, as the body is under strain and all the mind's concentration is focused on that weight. Holding one's breath, however, can be extremely dangerous. It can lead to sudden rises in blood pressure, which can lead to fainting, dizziness, blackouts, and other adverse effects. When lifting, one should breathe out when raising the weights, and breathe in when lowering the weights to maintain a regular breathing pattern.
Most experienced weight lifters will vary their workout routines from day to day. Proper weight lifting techniques can only be executed when the body has had sufficient time to rest, so many lifters will work one part of the body on day one, then move to another part of the body on day two. Such a variance also encourages a balanced workout, one in which all regions of the body get stronger rather than, say, just the chest and arms. Working the chest and arms on a Monday, and then working the thighs and glutes on a Tuesday provides a balance between upper body muscle workouts and lower body muscle workouts, and gives the muscles time to recover for the next workout.
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