Weight Training – When Should You Start and Stop?

chest-weight-liftingWeight training is one of the best and most effective ways to gain muscle strength and definition for anyone. However, you need to work out safely and efficiently to get the best results. Not everyone has the same health needs, so you will need to take into account the difficulty of your training, your lifestyle, and your fitness level when creating a routine for yourself. However, there are some general guidelines you can follow when deciding to start and stop.

weight-training-triathlonDeciding to start lifting weights is easy – you can really start whenever you want. If you notice that your strength, muscle tone, coordination, or stamina isn’t where you would like it to be, then weight training is one of the best ways for you to improve it. Just be sure to start slow if you haven’t lifted weights before, or if it has been a long time. It may be helpful to work with a personal trainer for a few sessions to get an idea of what types of workouts may be right for you.

What is more difficult is deciding when you should take a break from weight training. Contrary to what many people believe, you can actually over-train your body, a phenomenon that should be avoided to prevent injury and pain. It is absolutely crucial that you set a weekly routine for yourself and stick to it. This way, your body will adjust to the workout routine, and if you want to challenge yourself, you can slowly introduce new exercises without hurting your body. Just be sure to give yourself enough recovery time. Not taking the time to recover is a mistake that many people make that often leads to overuse injury. When you should take days off and how often depends on the type of lifting that you do. If you lift relatively light weights, then you can fit in as many as three sessions per week, but if your workouts are more intense, stick to one or two.

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There are a few major signs that you should take a break from lifting weights. The first is if you notice a serious or chronic pain that occurs when you lift weights. You likely have an injury, or at least the beginnings of one, and you should see a doctor or physical therapist to heal that part of your body before heading back to the weight room. You should also take a break if you notice that your soreness is interfering with your daily routine. A certain level of soreness is normal with any weight training routine, but if you find yourself getting sore all the time, you are probably overdoing it. Finally, if you notice a serious loss of flexibility, it may be a good time to focus on cardio for a bit instead of lifting weights. This is especially important for athletes that need to be just as limber as they are strong. Creating a good weight training routine and being aware of your body is very important for safety at the gym.