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Women's Fitness Focus: The 5 Canons of Resistance Training
by: Laura M. Turner, C.P.T.
Trying to firm and tone? Looking for a bathing suit body?
If you're resistance training program isn't performing for you; there's a solution. Get back to basics: give your routine a face lift by reviewing these 5 fitness canons.
Canon 1: Always Exhibit Proper Posture
The most important thing to remember when resistance training: proper form will make all the difference. Forget sets and reps, if it's results you're looking for and your form isn't solid, you are asking for injury (not to mention an inferior workout).
Guarantee a shape-shift by using this technique:
Stand in front of the mirror with feet shoulder width apart, eyes facing forward. Tuck you hips under and engage your abdominals – this will protect your spine and lower back and place your body in the safety zone.
Use this technique when performing a lift from a sitting position, as well. Make a mental picture; train your mind to notice if you are out of alignment by recognizing how this protective, invisible girdle feels around your torso. Soon, you will find your body naturally conforming to this posture.
Canon 2: Always Be Aware of Your Breath
When performing a lift, always be aware of your breathing. This is especially important if you have considerations with your heart and blood pressure. If you hold your breath during resistance training you could be placing a dangerous amount of pressure on your heart.
Here's a technique to help you breathe properly during a lift:
While engaging the lift: inhale through your nose. Continue to take in this long deep breath until you've reached capacity. Then, quickly exhale through the mouth on your exertion. Over time your breathing pattern will become rhythmic.
Canon 3: Know The Difference Between Precision and Momentum
It's often been said: 3 repetitions performed with precision will net greater results than 20 repetitions performed with momentum. This statement demonstrates the difference in the two: Yes, you'll need to challenge yourself and push your body's limits, but swinging weights and using momentum not only looks sloppy, but begets equal results.
The answer: A proper lift with a sensible weight will create definition and a sleek beautiful body.
Canon 4: Be Aware of Lifting To Heavy
Canon 4 is a natural extension of the previous principle. Remember: it's important to make strength gains during resistance training (and this will happen naturally) however, if you are forcing the lift, you are using a weight that is too heavy.
Here's the test: After a workout, you may experience some slight soreness in the muscle. However, if this soreness lasts beyond 48 hours, it may be a sign that you are lifting too heavy. As a rule: always aim to warm up and cool down, before and after your workout session.
Canon 5: Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
The body is made of 60% - 70% water, therefore, it is important to hydrate the body before, during and after exercise as the increased exertion accelerates the rate of water loss.
A rule of thumb is to drink at least an 8oz glass of water before during and after you workout. This will keep the body hydrated. It will also prevent dehydration and undue stress on your kidneys.
The Secret Canon:
Something else to keep in mind for a safe, effective workout: obtain proper footwear.
This should not be taken lightly. Proper footwear will help protect your feet, back and joints from receiving the majority of impact.
As a rule you should take a constant inventory of your feet, replacing your training shoes 2-3 times per year (depending on use). You will know when it's time if they've broken down or feel loose and sloppy.
Above all: Listen to you body! Be aware of what is trying to tell you. It's my guess, however, if you aim your awareness toward these canons of resistance training; your body will reward you with a strong, shapely, and injury free body - just in time for summer.
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