Amanda Jessop is a personal trainer on Fyt, the nation’s largest personal training service that makes fitness under the expert guidance of an in-person (or virtual), certified fitness professional convenient and accessible for anyone.
Slow it Down
If you slow down the eccentric part of the exercise (for example, the squat, slowing down the down movement), it works the muscles more vs. quickly squatting down and back up. Slowing exercises down accentuates the mind-body connection, allowing you to focus on working the appropriate muscle group.
Don’t Always Go For the Heaviest Weight
It’s important to get the technique of the strength exercise down before you load up on heavy weights. Heavy weights plus shortened range of motion in the exercise is a recipe for an exercise-related injury. Practicing the form without adding any weights is essential in avoiding an injury and will maximize strength training in the long run.
Foam Roll Before and After Your Sessions
Not only are you setting your body up for recovery by doing this, but the myofascial massage allows you to have a better range of motion in your exercise. Foam rolling increases blood flow throughout the body, which in turn, sets you up for a successful strength training session as well.
Add in Unilateral Exercises
Barbells are great for packing on the muscle, but most of us have some imbalance in our body, whether it’s a past injury or just being right-hand dominant. Your stronger side will work more when curling the barbell, for example. Then that arm continues to get stronger, triggering an exercise-related injury. Instead of curling a barbell, try curling two dumbbells, so both muscles work equal amounts.
Always Work on Some Recovery Techniques in Between Strength Workouts
Your workout is only as good as the amount your body recovered from the last workout. Foam rolling, mobility work, stretching, and walking are great recovery strategies. Taking the proper precautions will help ensure that the muscles recover enough so that you’re able to optimize your strength training.