Five Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Lifting

November 14, 2018

Hey there and welcome to the debut of Weight Room Wednesday here at Down With The Fitness!

Here are the top 5 lessons I’ve learned in my 8+ years of lifting weights and 4+ years as a personal trainer:

- If something hurts, stop (but don’t quit). Maybe that exercise isn’t right for you, pick another one. Maybe you’d do better in a slightly different set-up for the same exercise, adjust your positioning. Maybe you’re using too much weight, see below:

- Don’t let your ego pick the weight! I don’t know who said it, but one of my favorite gym quotes is: “A good lifter makes the heavy weight look light, and the light weight feel heavy.” Your joints will appreciate if you focus on making the light weight feel heavy by maximizing tension in the muscles you’re targeting, slowing down the reps, and/or pausing at the end range.

- Do more rowing. Like, a lot. People usually favor bench press and pull ups (or lat pull-downs) over rowing. Without diving into the biomechanics, this is not ideal for the average person in 2018’s shoulders, due to the posture we’re all adopting from our record amounts of technology.

- You don’t have to use a barbell. Ever. This blog isn’t meant for competitive crossfitters or powerlifters. Those are the only two groups of people who HAVE to use a barbell. It’s a great tool, but isn’t ideal for everyone. If the wrong people use them incorrectly, it can lead to injury. Dumbbells and kettlebells are generally safer free weight options.

- Be friendly and courteous to others at the gym! It’s the quickest way to feel like you belong there. I’m not saying turn it into social hour (the quality of small talk varies widely from person to person), but smiles, waves, headnods, and especially eye contact, will make the overall experience more enjoyable. These, combined with putting your weights back when you’re done, will help you fit in this occasionally intimidating environment..

These are all intentionally general so that you can take action on them, regardless of where you’re at or which exercises you choose.

Do your best and have some fun with it!

Matt Koch