Sometimes it’s the details that count when you’re trying to get the most out of your workouts for women.
So here is a random collection of tips to maximize your time in the gym and prevent injury:
1. Focus on dumbbell bench presses instead of barbell presses: Bench pressing is one of the best ways to sculpt and define your chest. Unfortunately, the standard barbell bench press that everyone does can put a lot of stress on your shoulders. And if you have a forward hunch, you risk damaging your rotator cuff.
The good news is that not only do dumbbell bench presses do a better job at targeting your chest muscles, but they are also easier on your rotator cuff.
2. Don’t stop squatting if your lower back hurts: Instead, try doing front squats. With this variation of the squat, less pressure is put on your back. As an added bonus, it does a great job at working your core musculature.
And remember that squats are a top exercise for burning lots of calories (and fat!).
3. Don’t overdo the overhead pressing: Again, pressing overhead can place a lot of stress on your rotator cuff and if you have a forward slouch, this problem is exacerbated. Even worse, if you have a downward slopping acromion (a bone that sits on top of the rotator cuff tendons) you will eventually end up with an injury if you overhead press too much.
So stay on the safe side by using light weights and doing overhead movements sparingly.
4. Experiment with reverse grip bench presses if you have shoulder pain: With a reverse grip press, you create the maximum amount of space for your rotator cuff tendons and place minimal stress on your shoulder joint. Many of my clients cannot press with a regular grip, but do just fine with a reverse grip.
5. Don’t be afraid of forced reps: The fastest rates of fat loss will happen when you train on the outer edge of your abilities. And one way to get to the edge is by doing forced reps. You will need a partner for this, but it’s well worth it.
Also, don’t think that forced reps equal poor form. You can still maintain excellent form while doing forced reps—just be extra cautious and focused.
6. Use a weight belt when doing complex movements with heavy weights: The idea that using a weight lifting belt will make your core weaker is a myth. As long as you train your core and don’t wear a belt every single minute of the day, your core will develop just fine. And it’s much better to prevent any lower back injuries because lower back pain is one of the most difficult things to get rid of.
7. Don’t do cardio before lifting weights: You have probably heard this before, but I’m going to have to mention it again. Because I still see way too many women doing cardio before lifting weights. So if you fall into this category please stop! It’s much safer and effective to do cardio after you have fatigued your muscles with weights.
Well, that’s it for today’s tips. Just make sure you start implementing them as soon as you can!